Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => New York Style => Topic started by: pftaylor on March 14, 2005, 05:57:27 PM

Title: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 14, 2005, 05:57:27 PM
All,
I decided to form a new thread dedicated to the relentless pursuit of reverse engineering a Patsy's Pizza at home. The goal for all of this hopefully will be an authentic recipe. So below is a cut and paste we will use of the last post in the thread entitled: "Friday Night Pizza Pictures" to jump start our discussion.

Okay here's what we have so far in diagnosing or reverse engineering a Patsy's Pizza. They have the world's lightest crust (outside of Naples) and may also use the most basic of all dough recipes; Flour, water, yeast, and salt. Can it be? Where's the sugar? Same for the Olive Oil? Where is it? Can you actually create a world class crust without those ingredients? I'm flabbergasted if that's the case.

Here are the facts as we know them:
1) They use a High Gluten flour to some extent. Probably 100%.
2) They do not use a high hydration dough as previously thought. I trust Jeff's ability to tell the difference between a wet and dry dough. I could use help here in predicting the likely hydration range to use in a home recipe.
3) They use a refrigerated retardation/proofing process - probably overnight but again input on what the timeframe range alternatives are would be helpful.
4) They do not use oil or sugar in the dough recipe. The source on this is their waiter. Could be reliable then again...
5) They MIGHT use a starter. I definitely need feedback here on Jeff's assumption that if you can culture their dough that's a pretty good indication that they use a starter. If so, they would be the only classic coal fired oven place to do so. Sounds like a longshot but ya never know. Somebody convince me on this pivotal point. I wanna believe...
6) They use Sassone tomatoes/sauce - Has anyone ever heard of this brand/distributor?
7) They have used a really hot coal fired oven since 1933. The crust is ultra-light, not heavy. If you usually get full eating 3-4 slices of a traditional NYC pie, you would have no problem eating an entire Patsy's pizza and still not feel bloated. Part of it may be that unlike Di Fara's, they have a light hand when it comes to cheese and sauce. In this case, less seems to be more.
8) The crust is not cracker crispy, charred yes. In fact, it is sort of on the soft side for being so well done.

I would especially appreciate any and all feedback from anyone who has actually eaten at the original Patsy's in East Harlem. Anyone who can comment on the above list is more than welcome to jump in...Come on guys help us decode this!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 14, 2005, 11:47:46 PM
I would be absolutely shocked to find out that Patsy's uses either sugar or oil. Really, really surprised. Especially about the sugar.

Frankly, I wish you guys could taste my crust. It's very close to pasty's right now. It's SUPER light. Much lighter than I ever thought I'd get it. And it's just  Flour, water, yeast, and salt. The taste is very close too. I had one batch in particular that was almost right there (crust only, not cheese). But I keep experimenting rather than rest on my laurels so I haven't remade that one in a while.

But I'm definitely at a higher hydration than they are right now. And I can't seem to get their level of windowpaning yet.

Regarding the starter: If all they use is baker's yeast than how can it continue on year after year? Baker's yeast just doesn't do that. Steve is using the culture, so he should weigh in on this. He said in recent post that it's taste is way different than the IDY he compared it to. He may not have the flavor to match Patsy's yet, as the same culture will yield very different flavors depending on the other factors. That takes a lot of practice. But he should confirm that the culture is highly active. It came straight from their dough.

Jeff
Title: Lame Pies
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2005, 01:49:43 AM
These were the results of the 'very little yeast' experiment ala pizzanapoletana. This was a very high hydration, slow rise using KA Bread Flour. I did a 18 hour bulk rise, made the balls and did another 5 hour rise. 

This was pretty much a failed experiment. The first dough ripped and I tossed it. The second held together but yielded a fairly dense crust.  This was my first time using this method, so I can't be too hard on it. But nothing about this pie was very good.  To be fair to pizzanapoletana, I altered his instructions in several places because I didn't have the ingredients to do it his way.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: ilpizzaiolo on March 15, 2005, 02:05:31 AM
I have not been to patsy's in east harlem in a long time. But i would agree with jeff on the fact that they would not use oil or sugar in their dough. For the simple fact that the roots of patsy's pizza formula come from naples, and in naples the dough does not have oil or sugar. The primary reason being that at 800 degrees plus, the browning of the crust occurs naturally. When analyzing these different pizzas, I think if you put them into their proper context in the evolution of pizza in that city, it is all an adaptation of pizza from naples. starting with lombardis. The pizza was adapted to the large coal ovens. then was adapted again to gas or electric. when the pizza was adapted to the gas oven, sugar and oil were added to aid in crust browning and the salt level was lowered. Also because of the stronger flour, oil also helped make the dough more extensible. Patsy's dough is probably very similar to the tom lehamn recipe which represents the typical new york dough, just taken a step back to the old days omitting oil, adding more water, and more salt...  I think the biggest factor in patsy's pizza is the oven, the way the stone and the high heat cook the pizza in 2-3 mintues. I think place like patsy's like to make this stuff very mysterious as if their is ssome secret recipe that only they know. The truth is the formula is very simple, there is just little attention to technique. I would be very surprised if they used any type of starter. I would guess the the dough is simple and something like this

    100%                 25  lbs high gluten flour (preferably sir lancelot)
      60%                 15  lbs water
        2%                   8 oz salt
     .75%                   3 oz cake yeast (if the dough is refrigerated for 24 hours)
     .125% -  .25%    .5 oz - 1oz if risen at room temperature (ideal in my opinion)
if the dough is going to be fermented under refrigeration, it needs to come off the hook at 80 degrees
if the dough is going to be fermented at room temperature, i would suggest 75-77 degrees

to get the light crust and proper cooking, the dough must be at room temperature prior to baking.

just a thought.... hope this helps.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 05:44:58 AM
Where do I begin?

A master pizzaiolo has contributed to the reverse engineering effort with an authentic recipe on the first day. It can't get better than that can it? ilpizzaiolo, I wonder if you would be so inclined as to review my suggested dough preparation techniques and dough management steps in a later post to ensure appropriate fit for a home recipe? Your suggestions are priceless and will be treated as such.

This forum and its members are fantastic. I feel privledged to be part of this. And its beginning to now all make sense. Patsy's grew out of Lombardi's. Lombardi's is from Naples. Naples never has used oil or sugar. Thanks for connecting the dots. Seems simple now.

I guess the lesson learned so far is that less really is more when it comes to pizza recipes. The authentic recipe you have generously offered up is so simple it defies logic. Why then do we Americans have dough recipes with all kinds of unnecessary ingredients? 

Jeff,
I feel your pain. Make one slight adjustment to a recipe and the whole thing is near useless. I would go back to what you know best. My only question is can you write down the recipe where you got close to Patsy's crust? I know you make a pizza by "feel" but keep a notebook handy and jot down notes. You hold the key to dialing us in. You are closer than anyone else.

On another note, I have recieved your Patsy's culture (smells like Boones Farm or MD 20/20). Actually, I can't stop thinking about that old line from the 70's after taking a whiff of your culture: What's the word? Thunderbird! What's the price? Fifty twice. If anyone doesn't get the T-Bird reference it probably means you are too young or you had enough money to buy good wine in the 70's. That's some strong smelling stuff Jeff.

I will prepare a batch of dough tonight with it. I am still troubled as to whether or not Patsy's uses a starter. On one hand, their crust is so much more flavorful than the other coal oven joints. On the other hand, do they really go through the trouble of using a starter on a daily basis? Could there be another explanation for why their crust is so light and flavorful? I'm beginning to think that the unbelievable lightness of the crust has us fooled into guessing a starter is being used.

Pete-zza,
You didn't think I would forget you did you? If you have the cycles, could you kindly check the conversions I made to il pizzaiolo's dough recipe in a later post? I want enough for two 14 ounce dough balls. I'm still not comfortable with the calculations and frankly you are the best.

We are still open to ideas and advice on any and all subject matter related to Patsy's. Feel free to add to the fun.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Randy on March 15, 2005, 07:14:25 AM


 Why then do we Americans have dough recipes with all kinds of unnecessary ingredients? 


Uhmm?  Flavor I would think since American style pizza out sells any other.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Steve on March 15, 2005, 07:34:33 AM
Regarding the starter: If all they use is baker's yeast than how can it continue on year after year? Baker's yeast just doesn't do that. Steve is using the culture, so he should weigh in on this. He said in recent post that it's taste is way different than the IDY he compared it to. He may not have the flavor to match Patsy's yet, as the same culture will yield very different flavors depending on the other factors. That takes a lot of practice. But he should confirm that the culture is highly active. It came straight from their dough.

Yes, the culture that Jeff sent is thriving nicely. I haven't had time to make a second batch of pizza dough using it, so it's in a semi-dormant state right now in my refrigerator. Plus I am still a novice when it comes to starters and it's apparent that I am doing something wrong since I am getting that tangy sourdough flavor in my crust.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 07:50:32 AM
Here is the modified home conversion of il pizzaiolo's authentic recipe. We hope to test it to see how close it comes to a Patsy's type crust. I have expressed all measurements (except starter) in weights as it is the most accurate way. Plus I get to use my new scale to boot. If you don't have a starter, no big deal. Don't worry about it. The starter adds a lot of extra taste and flavor but it is purely optional at this point. I just hope, for the general membership, that you don't need an 800 degree oven (which unfortunately may be the most important ingredient in this recipe) for this recipe to work well.

Produces enough for two 15" pizzas each weighing about 14 ounces:
15.5oz    KASL Flour
9.3oz      Water
2T           Starter (Optional)
1/10oz    IDY
3/10oz    Salt

Dough Preparation Sequence:
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add flour, yeast, and starter. Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute. Mix for 5 minutes on 2. Mix for 5 minutes on 3. Finish dough for 5 minutes until smooth on 2-3. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Refresh starter.

Note: Sequence updated to reflect forming of balls immediately after mixing...

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead on lightly floured prep area. Cut dough in half, form into balls, wipe lightly with oil, drop into a plastic bread bag, twist the end closed and tuck it under the dough ball. Place dough and starter into the refrigerator to ferment. On the following day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm at room temperature for about 60 - 120 minutes.

NOTE: To get the light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature prior to baking.

Then remove from the bag. Place dough on a floured prep area, punch down. Cover dough with kitchen towel to prevent drying for at least 1/2 hour. When ready to work the dough, do so by pressing down with your fingers from the center outward towards the rim. Then stretch the dough with your knuckles until finished.

Put the formed skin onto a pizza peel with Italian grease to facilitate release from the peel, add sauce, cheese, sprinkle salt, basil, and toppings.  Peel the dressed skin onto a preheated (about an hour) pizza stone in the oven/grill and allow baking until the crust is lightly charred and crispy.

Again, I would appreciate any and all feedback on any aspect of this recipe.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on March 15, 2005, 09:19:27 AM
I highly recommend no oil, sugar or malt.  I haven't used any in my pizza for over 2 years and I'll never go back.  My dough always browns in my oven which only gets up to 550 degrees (temp check with regular oven therm.)  7-8 minutes cooking time :(    - I know, should be 2-3.  I use a 2-4 days rise in a colder fridge.

I need to get a hotter oven.  I'm taking a wood burning oven course - actually it's a pizza course in Virginia - but I'm sure I know more about pizza than the instructor so I'm really going to learn about wood burning ovens and to bring my own dough to test it out.   If all works out then I'll be looking for a wood burning oven in my kitchen (instead of outdoors since I eat pizza 24x7)

Also I'm going to patsy's in the next few weeks so I'll ask a bunch of questions :)   I'm also going to Una Pizza Napoletana which should be interesting.

http://tinyurl.com/4vpla

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2005, 10:14:41 AM
A few quick things.

I would like to request that we all switch to grams rather than oz, cups, tablespoons and pounds.
I'll try to do more measuring next time, but I won't get to it this week.

My website has the recipe that got me the closest to patsy's. It's about 40% poolish, ka bread, 1-2 day cold rise.

Unfortunately, I think both my recipe and the one given above only have meaning at 750F or higher.

I agree that oil & sugar are added to accomodate a lower temp.

The idea that the light crust comes from the starter, I believe is mistaken.  I had a long talk with the former head baker at Zabar's and he said that sourdough gives the flavor, but many don't have enough puff, so you add baker's yeast to give it that lightness. Wonderbread uses baker's yeast.  Sourdough's tend to be dense.  In the 3 years since he told me that my experience has only serverd to confirm that.  If you are using baker's yeast and getting a dense dough then the problem is in the technique.

In my opinion, I think there is a huge overemphasis on the ingredient list. I know this sounds crazy or contradictory. But I've been basically using the same 4 ingredients for a couple of years and the variation from the best to the worst is HUGE. The same ingredients can yield soft, dense, light, wet, crisp, elastic, crumbling. To me it's all in the subtle technique. My web page focuses more on individual steps including kneading techniques, because I believe that it's in the steps and not the indredients. I went with AP flour for a long time and had excellent results. I may even try to go back to it. I haven't tried the Sir Lancelot yet, but the switch from AP to Bread and back does not seem to make a big difference. Ed Wood uses AP.  I know that pizzaneopolitana will disagree with this, and I may eventually change my mind on this, but right now I'm thinking it's all in the sequencing of the steps. The culture, the temp, the hydration, the knead times. I believe strongly that the dough should have rest periods while kneading. See my recipe.

I would not cover the dough with oil. For SURE patsy's doesn't do that. Put them in Glad 3 cup plastic containers. They work very well, exactly the size for 1 pie. I oil it but the thinest possible coating, wiped out with a paper towel. 

This may be my last post for a while. I've got a company to run.

Ciao

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 10:28:45 AM
Arthur,
Thanks for your interest and support. By the time you go to NYC we should have a concise and much smaller list of questions to solve. Right now there are so many gaps that you would probably scare them away. Bring a camera with you if you can.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 15, 2005, 11:51:51 AM
I'm very pleased with the way this conversation has evolved, as it is totally in line with the point I have been trying to make over the past few weeks - great pizza is beautiful in its simplicity.  Perhaps some remember my post from a few weeks ago about the K.I.S.S. theory.  To me, this theory is at the very core of pizza making.  Pizza is not overly complex in its makeup, but is very theoretical and complex in its PREPARATION.  This very subject is discussed on another "Reverse Engineering" thread started by Pete-zza called "Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas".  Replies 41 and 43 address this very topic, as I enjoyed unbelievable success in combining KA00 and KASL flours to make a DiFara hybrid.  The ingredients consisted only of flour, water, salt, and yeast.

There are no "magical" ingredients, only magical ways to prepare pizza.  Hence the fascination with the great pizzamakers like Dom DeMarco and others.  It has been proven time and time again amongst our membership that great pizza can be made from a myriad of ingredients, but the real substantive breakthroughs tend to be associated with preparation technique - such things as refrigeration/retardation, cooking temperature, dough temperature, cooking techniques (stone vs. screen vs. tiles), mixing of ingredients (mixer, food processer), mixing times, etc.  These are the factors that ultimately affect the final product more than "newfound" ingredients.  Pizzamaking is an art form that has history over 300 years old.  Let us not think that there is some "magic" ingredient out there that will re-invent this great art that has stood the test of time.  What we can enhance and improve is our abilities as amateur pizzamakers and the various techniques needed to master this great art.  Make no mistake, preparation techniques and cooking techniques affect flavor and outcome just as much as great ingredients - and the ingredients are no great mystery.  I guarantee you that if you had Dom DeMarco to your home as a guest, he could take your own pizza dough and create a wonderful pizza product.  He's a craftsman and that's the biggest key to making great pizza.  And certainly, we have some great craftsmen among our membership, none of whom I will single out for fear of leaving anyone off the list.
Friz
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 15, 2005, 01:36:45 PM
pft,

I have taken a stab at converting ilpizzaiolo's recipe as you have adapted it to include use of a starter. Using a starter complicates the conversion process for three reasons that immediately come to mind: I don't know how much your starter weighs, I don't know its leavening power, and the amounts of flour and water have to be adjusted to compensate for the flour and water in the amount of starter used. Consequently, to do the conversion, I assumed that your starter is similar to mine and is about 50% flour and 50% water. I weighed a tablespoon of my starter and it was about 0.50 oz. I then adjusted the amounts of flour and water so that, together with the other ingredients (salt, IDY, and the starter), the total dough ball weight was around 14 oz.

Since the recipe calls for the use of cake yeast and you plan to use IDY and refrigeration of the dough, I converted from cake yeast to IDY by dividing by 3, which is the typical conversion number used. So, 0.75% cake yeast in the recipe became 0.25% IDY (by weight of flour). I did not attempt to reduce the amount of water in the recipe to compensate for the liquid in cake yeast. I suspect it is minimal in any event. Since your starter has leavening power, you may be able to reduce the amount of IDY somewhat, but I have no way to tell you by how much.

I realize that you are planning to make two pizzas, each using a dough ball of around 14 oz., but I have listed the ingredients and quantities below for a single dough ball, along with volume measurements for those who do not have scales or want to make just a single pizza. To make more dough balls, all that is necessary is to multiply the weights (or volumes) by the number of dough balls desired.

You may also be interested in knowing that the thickness factor (TF) for your pizza is on the low side. I know that you favor your pizza crusts on the thin side (to keep carb levels down), but yours is extra thin. You indicated that you wanted a roughly 14-oz. dough ball for a 15-in. pizza. Using the expression 3.14 x 7.5 x 7.5 x TF = 14 oz., I solved for TF and got 0.0793, or roughly 0.08. A typical NY style dough has a thickness factor of around 0.10. In any event, I have presented below the list of ingredients and quantities I came up with for a single dough ball weight of 14 oz. When I added together the weights of all the ingredients, they did indeed come to 14 oz., which suggests that my math is correct. For those who may want to use the original recipe, i.e., without the use of a starter but using IDY and refrigeration, I will do another conversion and post the results in another posting sometime today. I welcome anyone to double check my figures (and methodology) if they are so inclined, to be sure that I have correctly stated everything.

High-gluten flour (100%, KASL), 8.40 oz. (1 3/4 c. plus 2 1/2 T.)
Water (60%), 4.95 oz. (about 2/3 c.)
Salt (2%), 0.173 oz. (about 7/8 t.)
IDY (0.25%), 0.022 oz. (about 1/5 t.)
Starter, 0.55 oz. (about 1 T.)

As for your question about dividing dough balls sooner rather than later, I tend to favor doing the dividing sooner. This minimizes contact with the dough balls once they are formed and suitably weighed. Dividing, weighing and shaping later may force gasses out of the dough, which you usually want to avoid.

Peter

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 02:10:30 PM
Pete-zza,
Thanks for jumping in and helping out. Your point about my preference for a thin skin is well made. Would it be possible to adjust the math for an industry standard dough ball weight? Historically I believe you use around 20oz? I can always adjust downwards from there for my individual needs.

This is a great project and one which hopefully will benefit all. A few points come to mind however: First, I'll update the recipe Pete-zza has converted to include metric units as well in the next update. Good point Jeff.

Second, If the addition of sugar and oil is for lower temperature ovens should we not include a modified version for those situations? If so, how much?

Third, I would like feedback around updating the procedure and sequencing of the processing of the dough. I think Jeff may have a point about having rest periods but I wonder if they are necessary if one is not using a starter?

Fourth, I agree with Pete-zza that cutting the dough balls early makes sense so I'll update the procedure if no one is passionate otherwise.

Thanks for all the positive energy around this project.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2005, 02:52:13 PM
 > Second, If the addition of sugar and oil is for lower temperature ovens should we not include
> a modified version for those situations? If so, how much?
Honestly, this is a whole separate project then.  A lower temp pizza may have just about everything different, not just one or two ingedients.

I weighed a Patsy's dough ball. Unfortunately I don't remember what it was, but I remember thinking that they were making a bigger pie with about the same weight as I was using. That would put it at about 350 - 375g for an 18?" pie. As my technique has improved, my ball is getting lighter and lighter, so that is now matches Patsy's. I'm at 270g for a 13-14" pie. Almost exactly what pizzaneopolitano uses too.

Re: Grams. I know I just suggested grams, but maybe we should just use percents.

My starter is a batter, so it's probably about 50% water, 50% batter.  Pretty good guess. I'll have to start measuring more though.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 15, 2005, 02:53:54 PM
pft,

Any number of conversions are possible. But since you are trying to emulate the Patsy's dough and crust, wouldn't it make more sense to use a typical Patsy's pizza as a benchmark? I know from reading Jeff's stuff that he uses a dough ball weight of around 270-280 g. (about 9.5-9.9 oz.) for a 13-inch pizza. Based on those numbers, the thickness factor TF would be around 0.072-0.075, or a bit less than (but close to) your thickness factor. But the dough ball weights and sizes you and Jeff have been using may not be typical of a Patsy's pizza. Also, do you want the conversion to a more standard size to include a starter?

If you can tell me what benchmark you want to use (dough ball weight, pizza size, thickness, or whatever) and whether you want to base the conversion on using a starter, I should be able to come up with the numbers.

As for using oil or sugar in the dough, do you want to consider modifying the recipe to incllude either, inasmuch as it appears that Patsy's does neither? I realize that Patsy's ovens operate at higher temperatures than home ovens, but doing either or both will slightly alter the baker's percents and the amounts of the individual ingredients, even if only slightly. It may make greater sense to leave it to the home pizza maker to decide whether to use sugar or oil based on how long the dough is to be held before using, oven temperature and baking method to be used, desired crust characteristics, etc.

I know Jeff is very fond of using rest periods and it is hard to argue with his success. But with all due respect, I tend to doubt that Patsy's uses autolyses or other types of rest periods in making their doughs. I say this only because I have never been able to find anything in the literature that suggests that professional pizza operators use such rest periods. I can't say categorically that that is true, and maybe some artisanal pizza maker somewhere is using rest periods, but I haven't been able to find evidence of this in the literature (see, for example, Reply #43 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg5475.html#msg5475). I do know that Peter Reinhart recommends rest periods, but his background was in bread baking where use of autolyse periods is quite common.

I'll await your further instructions on how you would like me to proceed.

Peter

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 15, 2005, 03:32:01 PM
pft,

I see that Jeff has weighed in on some aspect of the project. If he is using 270-280 g. for a 13-14-inch pizza, then his skins are thinner yet than yours. And if Patsy's is using 350-375 g. for an 18-inch skin, then Patsy's is lower yet than either you or Jeff--about half of the thickness of a standard NY style dough. It would certainly help if we could determine the dough ball weight Patsy's uses and the size of pizza Patsy's makes using that dough ball weight. Otherwise, we will have to just pick a size and thickness factor and calculate everything from those numbers.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 04:46:32 PM
Pete-zza,
I would recommend recalculating to a standard ball weight for a 15" skin with a standard thickness pizza. I would also still display percentages. Everyone can adjust from there. Patsy's standard pizza size is about 18" and wouldn't fit in anyone's oven anyway. I'm not sure what a standard thickness skin is for a NY pie but I believe I've read some of your posts where you have suggested one. I would go with that number.

Regarding a starter, I would not list it and make it optional. There are only a handful of us who use a starter anyway and it's listing may slow down potential adoption with new members due to unnessary confusion.

Regarding OO & sugar, I agree with Jeff. Let's not include them either.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 15, 2005, 06:11:39 PM
Has anyone tried this recipe yet?  Once Pete gets a final version I will give it a go right away.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2005, 06:18:20 PM
The 13" pie is all I can make consistently. My stone in 14.5" front to back and 16" wide. I can't really do more than 13" because that only leaves a little bit on each side and given that I've only got a second to put it in (don't want to let the heat out) and don't use a screen, 13" is about what I can do.

Any chance of standardizing on that size rather than 15"?

The more I think about it, the more I think measuring everything in %'s is best, then convert to grams for home use. I'm going to start making much smaller batches so I can bang out a bunch of experiments for this project. I don't think in the DLX I can do much smaller than 1100g which is 4 x 275g.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 06:25:13 PM
Pete-zza,
Is it too late to standardize on a 13" with your standard thickness? I promise this is the last substantive change (I hope).

Friz,
I just made two dough balls based on the earliest version posted. They weighed only 12.6 ounces each and were really hard relative to my normal super wet dough balls. Tomorrow we will have the first verdict on il pizzaiolo's recipe (modified with a starter).
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2005, 06:25:40 PM
As far as going with no starter, I think that's a waste. If steve can send it around, maybe we can all use the same culture and really get this going. If we do this together, we should all try to do the real thing. Get the oven temp right, the starter, the same ingredients, real digital thermometers, the whole deal. Otherwise I'm not sure what we are going to learn from each other's experiments.

Even if we end up with smaller group, we will learn more and even the ones that can't duplicate all this will still learn more.

What do you think?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 06:36:06 PM
Jeff,
I'm all for the inclusion of a starter. I just didn't want to alienate anyone. Nor did I want to earn Steve a part-time job at the post-office. But you are right. If we are going to do a homemade version of a Patsy's pizza than we should all do it the same.

Petezza,
If it's not too late can we go back to including the starter?

At times like these you really need a chat room.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 15, 2005, 06:52:44 PM
Jeff
I am the first one to support the fact that the technique is more importante then the ingredientss or following a recipe. I have had to work with different types of flours, water, yeast etc. But I had always to produce a good dough.

The most important thing to achieve lightness and flovour, is long fermentation and hydratation.

I already said that would be too complicate to explain with a keyboard how to replicate my own dough. There are hundread of steps involved that all become a way of working.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 07:00:14 PM
pizzanapoletana,
Out of curiosity when you say long fermentation and hydration do you mean high hydration?
If so, I'm confused. I know you are a proponent of higher than normal hydration levels - as I have been up until Jeff and ilpizzaiolo suggested otherwise.

Can you explain how to get what is arguably the lightest crust in America with only a 60% hydration?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 15, 2005, 07:09:29 PM
Yes I meant an high hydratation.

However over long resting time, over 24 hours, some of the water in the dough is released by the molecular bond. 

What I am saying is that there are ways to achieve a light crust with a no so wet dough, but then there are some other factors that need to vary.

It is simple to start from high hydratation and long fermentation to obtain similar results.

I have tried Grimaldi's pizza, which some believe to be similar or even better then Patsy's. It was light, but notthing so special or even comparable to mine or Da Michele dough.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 07:39:59 PM
pizzanapoletana,
Thank you for the clarification on hydration.

I have also eaten at Grimaldi's on occasion and I can tell you that the only things they have in common are that they both use a coal oven and at one time they were related. Nearly every other aspect is different. Patsy's crust is considerably lighter and much more flavorable. The difference in crust is even more noticable as the pie cools. The Patsy's crust does not go limp.

The ovens look different and seem to perform differently as well. Grimaldi's has a line outside the door most of the time and Patsy's is generally empty. The effect on the oven is profound. The Patsy's oven is much hotter due to not pumping out as many pies.

Grimaldi's sauce is bland whereas Patsy's is bright. The one area where Grimaldi's is better, in my opinion, is with their toppings. Grimaldi's sausage is special. However, I consider the best pizza to be a Margherita so I never worry about toppings (unless I'm eating at Di Fara's where the toppings are the show).


Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 15, 2005, 07:50:03 PM
pft,

As you have requested, I have set forth below the ingredients and quantities necessary to make a 15-inch skin with a thickness characteristic of a NY style. For purposes of calculating the required dough ball weight, I used a thickness factor of 0.10, which is a fairly standard figure for a thin NY style dough. Using that thickness factor, the dough ball weight comes to 17.7 oz. (3.14 x 7.5 x 7.5 x 0.10 = 17.7). Using the baker's percents for ilpizzaiolo's recipe, the ingredients and amounts are as follows:

High-gluten flour (100%, KASL), 10.90 oz.
Water (60%), 6.55 oz.
Salt (2%), 0.22 oz. (a bit over 1 t.)
IDY (0.25%), 0.027 oz. (a bit over 1/4 t.)

If one chooses to forego refrigeration/retardation of the dough and instead rely on fermentation at room temperature, a process generally favored by ilpizzaiolo and Pizza Napoletana, then an even smaller amount of IDY would be used. The amount is so small and hard to measure using standard measuring spoons, I estimate that it would be about 1/3 of a 1/8-t. measuring spoon. That's about 3 modest pinches of IDY between the thumb and forefinger.

What should be noted from the above is that what we have basically created is a recipe for a relatively low hydration (60%) Lehmann NY style dough. I don't believe that that is what Patsy's is making, so I'd like to suggest that the recipe and amounts of ingredients set forth below be used as a starting point if one wants to try to emulate the Patsy's dough using pizzaiolo's recipe. Both pft and Jeff have clearly indicated that their doughs are super thin, and I think that that is the secret of their success, along with using a high temperature bake. And, from looking at what both have done in their efforts to emulate the Patsy's dough, I have concluded that the more applicable thickness factor may be closer to 0.06 and 0.07. In the spirit of compromise, I split the difference and chose to use 0.065. Using this thickness factor, the dough ball weight is much smaller, around 11.5 oz. (3.14 x 7.5 x 7.5 x 0.065 = 11.48 oz.). For this weight of dough ball, the ingredients and quantities are as follows:

High-gluten flour (100%, KASL), 7.10 oz. (1 1/2 c. plus 4 t.)
Water (60%), 4.25 oz. (between 1/2 and 5/8 c.)
Salt (2%), 0.14 oz. (a bit less than 3/4 t.)
IDY (0.25%), 0.018 oz. (between 1/8 and 1/4 t.)

Again, if one chooses to use a room temperature fermentation, the amount of IDY should be reduced. In this case, the amount is smaller than in the previous examples given. It comes to about a pinch and a half between the thumb and forefinger. I have no idea as to what the outcome will be using such a small amount of yeast, but I have learned from experience that it doesn't take much yeast to get a dough to rise.

Using the calculation techniques described above, it is fairly easy to calculate a dough ball weight for another size pizza. For example, if one wants to make a 13-inch pizza, again using the 0.065 thickness factor, the calculated dough ball weight comes to about 8.6 oz. (3.14 x 6.5 x 6.5 x 0.065 = 8.62 oz.). In this example, the ingredient listing is as follows:

High-gluten flour (100%), 5.30 oz. (a bit under 3/4 c.)
Water (60%), 3.20 oz. (about 3/8 c.)
Salt (2%), 0.11 oz. (a bit over 1/2 t.)
IDY (0.25%), 0.013 oz. (1/8 t.)

On the chance that one wishes to use a different thickness factor or a different dough ball weight or pizza size, the above calculations demonstrate how to use the baker's percents to achieve the desired amounts of ingredients for the dough configuration selected.

Peter



Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 08:09:38 PM
Pete-zza,
You are a good man. I appreciate all the time, energy, and effort you have put into this project.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 15, 2005, 08:10:33 PM
I see that there was a flurry of activity as I was burning up the keys of my calculator and measuring things on my digital scale.

It's not a problem to re-incorporate the use of a starter in the list of ingredients. However, it will be necessary to determine how much starter is to be used. For Neapolitan style pizzas, Pizza Napoletana recommends 1-5% by weight of water. If that is the guideline to be used in the present case using ilpizzaiolo's recipe, and assuming that the starter is about 50% flour and 50% water (or any other specified ratio), then the recipe for any size pizza can be modified accordingly. What will help me is to know what percent of starter is to be used, and the size of pizza. As may have been noted from my prior post, I shifted gears on everyone by suggesting the use of a lower thickness factor. If a different thickness factor is preferred, then it should be specified and I will reflect it in the final calculations.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2005, 08:26:25 PM
Hey Marco,

Grimaldi's is not that great. If you look at Zagat and other surverys a lot of places beat Patsy's. But it's not because of the pizza. Patsy's is in a horrible dangerous neighborhood and no one goes there. I've been the only customer in there at times. It's a throwback to the old days. My fear is that in the last year Patsy's has a new guy cooking and the pies have gone way down hill. The Patsy's up until last year was incredible, way better than Grimaldi or Lombardi's or John's, etc.

It possible that Steve's yeast is already contaminated with some of Sourdo.com's cultures. From his description, I think it's 50/50 that it's no good. Send me your address. You are the new post office for the project.

Regarding high hydration. My best pies are high hydration. But Patsy's doughs are not. So I'm close, but that's an important area of difference.

Marco uses 1-5% starter, I'm at 40%. Another huge, huge difference to work on.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 15, 2005, 08:52:22 PM
Pete-zza,
I would defer to pizzanapoletana on the correct starter percentage. Whatever would yield the greatest margin of error is my vote.

Jeff,
pizzanapoletana lives in the UK so he is not the logical choice. Fewer distribution points will raise the integrity of the poolish. That means either me or you. With you as the father of Frankenstein...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 15, 2005, 09:27:01 PM
Pete,
When you use these numbers (3.14 x 7.5 x 7.5 x 0.10 = 17.7) to explain the dough ball weight could you explain what each one represents.  I understand that the 0.10 probably refers to the thickness factor, but not sure about the rest.
Friz
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 15, 2005, 09:29:57 PM
Hey Marco,

Grimaldi's is not that great. If you look at Zagat and other surverys a lot of places beat Patsy's. But it's not because of the pizza. Patsy's is in a horrible dangerous neighborhood and no one goes there. I've been the only customer in there at times. It's a throwback to the old days. My fear is that in the last year Patsy's has a new guy cooking and the pies have gone way down hill. The Patsy's up until last year was incredible, way better than Grimaldi or Lombardi's or John's, etc.

It possible that Steve's yeast is already contaminated with some of Sourdo.com's cultures. From his description, I think it's 50/50 that it's no good. Send me your address. You are the new post office for the project.

Regarding high hydration. My best pies are high hydration. But Patsy's doughs are not. So I'm close, but that's an important area of difference.

Marco uses 1-5% starter, I'm at 40%. Another huge, huge difference to work on.

Jeff

Jeff

For what I have tasted in NY last November, Totonno's was the best, then Grimaldi, Lombardi's and John's had to be the last...

I would not mind run some test on the Patsy's starter, but I would not be able to send it back to US.

The sourdo Italian starters are not really sour, or notthing really compared to the San Francisco sourdough. However as I said before, depends, on how you manage your starter, and there are ways to correct them.

One of them (ischia) is slightly more sour and slower then the other one "camaldoli".



Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 15, 2005, 09:59:52 PM
friz,

The expression to calculate the dough weight for a particular size (diameter) pizza is Pi (the Greek letter, equal to 3.14) times the radius (the diameter divided by two) squared, times the thickness factor (TF). Pi times the radius squared is the surface area of the pizza. The thickness factor is something that someone must have come up with through experimentation. It has a typical value of 0.11 for an average (medium) pizza crust thickness, a value of 0.10 for a thin crust, and a value of 0.12-0.13 for a thick crust. There's nothing sacred about those numbers. They are guidelines, and one can choose to modify them at will based on personal experience.

The above expression can also be used for dough scaling purposes based on actual experience. Assume, for example, that you determined through the process of experimentation or trial and error that the ideal, or “perfect”, dough ball weight for a 14” pizza is 15 ounces. Using the expression (Pi x R x R), where R is equal to 7, the surface area of the pizza is calculated to be 153.86 square inches (3.14 x 7 x 7).  A value for the thickness factor TF based on the 14” size pizza would then be calculated by dividing 15 by 153.86, or 0.0984912.  To determine the dough ball weight for another size pizza using that "personal" thickness factor, say, 12”, the corresponding value of the new dough ball weight is calculated by multiplying the surface area of the 12” pizza, or 113.04 square inches (3.14 x 6 x 6), by 0.0984912, or roughly 11 ounces. To scale up to a larger size pizza, say, 16 inches, the amount of dough required would be 200.96 (3.14 x 8 x8) times 0.0984912, or 19.8 ounces. The dough ball weight for any other size pizza, up or down in diameter, would be calculated in the same manner. It's a pretty good tool to use to calculate just the right amount of dough you will need for any size and thickness of pizza. The really neat thing about using the expression is that it then allows you to calculate the amounts of ingredients to use for the dough based on the baker's percents, if you are lucky to have them.

The rules are a bit different, of course, for deep-dish, because you have to take into account the dough that goes up the sides of the pan. It's just another step to be factored into the overall calculation, but not a difficult one.

Peter

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 07:43:27 AM
Let's do a level set to see where we are at.

I just want to thank everyone for their contribution to the effort. Even those that haven't contributed yet but perhaps will. Jump in, we need and value your comments. A special mention goes to:

Pete-zza,
You are amazing for your attention to detail and willingness to help. With you memorializing our thoughts into a usable format, there will be nothing that will stop us from assiduously achieving our stated goal of reverse engineering a Patsy's pizza. I have leaned into you recently for the recipe conversions but now look to you for cleaning up and clarifying the dough preparation steps. You are the best wordsmith we have and communicate the most effectively of us all with the written word.

il pizzaiolo,
You are the father of the home made recipe. It's simplicity is as understated as your humble but lethal guidance. We are all indebted to you for starting us in the right direction. Look at what you have started. To date, there have been 35 posts and 240 views of this thread. Clearly when you speak, we listen.

varasano,
Holder of the Patsy flame and perhaps the only other member here who is as big of a believer in the quality of Patsy's crust as I. Your militaristic attitude toward success for six long years is about to be rewarded.

pizzanapoletana,
As a master pizzaiolo you understand better than most the power and benefit of a starter. We will one way or another get you the varasano Patsy's starter for complete analysis. You will then be able to put to rest the mystery of whether or not Patsy's uses some form of starter to get their intense flavor. We all want to learn from you. Teach us!

Friz,
Your KISS voice was heard loud and clear. You are about to be part of the single most competent dough recipe known to mankind. Stay tuned. 

Steve & Randy
A very special thanks for allowing the membership here to use this forum and contribute so many noteworthy ideas in such a short time. With a little trial and error baking in the coming days, we will return a recipe that can be used faithfully by all. The collective genius of the forum will not be denied. Your tolerance and acceptance of this runaway train is much appreciated.

Arthur,
Get your wood burning oven built will ya. And get the state's priorities straight. Virginia isn't for lovers. It's for pizza!

How can everyone help right here? Right now?

Well take a look at our suggested dough preparation sequence and technique. If you know of a way, I don't even care how small, to improve a step - kindly suggest it. If you notice something that we are missing - bring it to our attention. One specific question I have is this: Does Patsy's or any pizza joint rub the dough balls with oil to prevent sticking? If not, how do they ferment their dough balls while avoiding the sticking issue. I realize this is a small point but one which should be pretty easy to nail properly.

Everybody deserves a little Patsy's!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Steve on March 16, 2005, 08:37:01 AM
With a little trial and error baking in the coming days, we will return a recipe that can be used faithfully by all.

Once we get the recipe "perfected," I'd like to put the recipe out on the main website.  ;)
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: jimd on March 16, 2005, 09:01:20 AM
Hi: I am a brand new member, but have been long obsessed with pizza. Discovered this website and have developed an obsession with it. I have gotten so much out of the posts, and need to express my gratitude for everyone sharing their wisdom.

I have very little to add right now, but hope to have more in the future. One suggestion I do have is for those interested to visit the website of Woodstone Ovens (they make wood burning ovens used by many restaurants). One of their employees recently went on a training session to Naples. The session was sponsered by Caputo flour, and the fellow trained under one of the master pizza makers (for a day at least).   The website has a narrative and pictures of the lessons, and describes techniques for kneading and shaping. I have tried the kneading technique and so far it has produced the best dough I have made (but remember I am in the early stages).  The description of how to divide the pizza dough is fascinating, and very difficult to get right.

I think some of you might enjoy it, and it is worth a look. Here is the link:

www.woodstone-corp.com/cooking_naples_style.htm


BTW, I have just treated myself to a wood burning backyard oven, which I keep on Cape Cod. It is a great deal of fun, and I expect to spend a good part of the summer trying to get comfortable using it. I will be happy to share my experiences trying some of the recipes with a wood oven.

Regards,

Jim
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 09:16:49 AM
Steve,
It would be our greatest privlege to be forever a part of pizzamaking.com. I'm glad I suggested to have Pete-zza write up the recipe and procedure. I'll volunteer to take the pictures. It's all coming together now...

jimd,
Great first post. Good reference site.

A number of our senior members are quite well versed with it. One of the things you may find of interest is that we actually have pizzaiolo who possess the same skills as the one on the site. The only difference is they dispense their wisdom here and often.

Since you have the real deal in the backyard, your job should you choose to accept it, is to test out the Patsy's recipe and report back.

Welcome aboard the Patsy's train!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 05:18:39 PM
So I made the first batch of two pies tonight. I will let the pictures speak for themselves but I do have a few brief comments:
1) Very hard dough to stretch. Dough tore a couple of times. That's a no-no
2) 21 hour refrigerated rise with a 2 hour counter rise.
3) Not the normal amount of oven spring.
4) I lowered my tiles trying to get more even baking and failed. The bottom cooked quicker than the top. As DC PM would say: Burn pizza will give you cancer!
5) a few blister holes were noted on the bottom of the pie(s)
6) It just didn't "Look" as pretty as my previous efforts
7) No oil was used to coat the dough balls...
8) The family gave it a thumbs down

Here goes nothing:
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 05:19:40 PM
Here is a picture of a slice from pie #1:
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 05:21:11 PM
Pie #2: A Margherita with fresh Mutz and basil:
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 05:21:54 PM
More pictures of pie #2:
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 16, 2005, 05:48:02 PM
What mozz are you using?

Get me your address and I'll get you out some culture
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 05:52:51 PM
In summary,
I have a lot to learn about pizza making. Let me count the ways:

I excercised bad judgement thinking I could change the tile configuration around to try and squeeze out the last drop of performance from my grill. It resulted in a burned bottom and an uncooked top.

I have serious questions as to why the dough was so very difficult to stretch. I ended up tearing the dough trying to get a bigger skin. My guess is the shorter than 24 hour rise contributed some. Perhaps all. Who knows?

I thought I followed the dough preparation techniques to the letter. Perhaps I skipped a step somewhere? Or more likely, 16 minutes of mixing time is too much.

I'm open to all suggestions for improvement...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 16, 2005, 06:01:54 PM
Hey I've got a buddy in your town. You may have to make him a pie since he can't have one of mine. He loves to cook but hasn't gotten into the pizza thing.

My experience on stretching the dough is very clear to me.  90% of the issue is settled by the time the dough ball is formed. The rise time and temp play a tiny role.  It's all in the hydration and the kneading. If your dough is windowpaning well during the kneading or after a 10-15 min rest after kneading, then you will have no problem stretching it. If it's not great at that point, no amount of care will change it.

In my DLX 11 minutes of kneading is max. But as I say, much of the kneading is done when the dough is highly hydrated, then I keep mixing in alittle flour at at time. But the time it's fully hydrated, It's really not mixing anymore, just spinning around the machine. Then it's done.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 06:55:38 PM
Varazano,
Your buddy is welcome any time.

I covered up the fresh mutz with sauce - just like ilpizzaiolo suggested. Sure enough it didn't burn at all. I take it from your comment that you are going to give the Polly - O Fresh Mozzarella a try?

I knew I was in trouble when I removed the dough ball from the stand mixer. I just didn't know how much. It was hard as a rock and dense feeling. In fact, I didn't need to flour the prep area in order to hand knead it at all. It wasn't sticky. From a practical standpoint I'm not sure a Kitchen Aide stand mixer can adequately process dough at a 60% hydration level. I now know why you have a DLX.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 16, 2005, 08:17:28 PM
pft,

When I saw the results of your latest effort, I revisited your original recipe and put my thinking cap on. Based on the amounts of ingredients you used, and assuming that they were weighed properly, then the total dough ball weight should have come to around 26.2 oz., or 13.10 oz. for each of the two dough balls. I believe you were actually a bit short of that weight, but I don't think that was the cause of your problems.

I think that there could be several possible reasons for not achieving the results you wanted, apart from the possibility that your baking regimen was at fault. First is the hydration percent--60%. That is at about the middle of the hydration percentage range for a NY style pizza dough, but relative to what you have been using in your Patsy's experiments, that is on the low side and will be noticeable when you handle the dough. The dough will feel dry and a bit tough. It also means that the fermentation will be slowed down. The more water in the dough the more everything in the dough is permeated by the water, leading to greater chemical activity and a faster fermentation. Consequently, to achieve the same level of fermentation as using more water, and all other things being equal, you usually need to extend the fermentation time. So, in your case, you might have fared better if you let the dough ferment for at least the 24 hours, if not a few more hours longer, before bringing it out to room temperature.

Second, you did not use any oil. Oil is not commonly used in authentic Neapolitan doughs but it does help increase the extensibility of a dough because it coats the gluten strands to achieve a smooth structure. I often knead doughs by hand and when I add the olive oil to a dough I have been kneading I can almost immediately tell its presence. The dough gets softer, smoother and more malleable. (If anyone ever wants to learn about dough, try hand kneading. It will tell you far more than you will learn just throwing everything into a machine.) Third, a total of 16 minutes machine kneading may have been too long, even for a high-gluten flour. I don't recall what machine speed you used so it is hard to comment much on that. But if it was at very low speed, I don't think the dough would have suffered from a 16-minute knead time. If it was at a higher speed, then it could have been toughened up by the longer knead, by creating a denser, tighter structure.

As an aside, my new supply of KASL just came in so I plan to try out the recipe for the dough for the 13-inch pizza I posted recently on this thread. But I know in advance that the dough will be a drier dough and will not handle as well as a more hydrated dough or one with oil in it. So I plan to allow plenty of fermentation time, at least 24 hours, to compensate. I also expect that the dough will be harder to shape and stretch. Based on the recipe, the dough ball should weigh around 8.6 oz. and be stretched super thin to 13 inches. To do this without tearing should be a real challenge. I may have to revisit D.C. Pizza Maker's instructions in advance to refresh my memory on how to stretch the dough ball to that diameter without tearing.

Peter
Title: hydratation
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 16, 2005, 08:37:12 PM
Sorry guys

Are you considering that different strength flours have different absorption rate?

A 60% rate with a strong flour id very dry whilst with a Caputo will be just on the wet side and with a regular 00 will be very wet…
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 08:46:40 PM
Wow. What a diagnosis Doctor Pete-zza. I thought you were a detective but now I think you have a bit of Physician in you to boot. Any ideas about the blister holes?

I am frankly baffled by them. Or am I? I think there is way too much yeast - either Patsy's or commercial and that had to be a contributory factor.

Here are the changes I'm prepared to endorse at this juncture:
1) Reduce the knead time from 16 minutes to 10
2) Reduce the amount of commercial yeast by half
3) Replace the layer of quarry tiles I removed
4) Wipe dough balls with OO

Here are changes I'm prepared to endorse if the above do not yield the appropriate outcome:
1) Add 1/2 teaspoon OO
2) Increase hydration percentage to 62.5%

While I realize it was asking a lot to post an impressive outcome right out of the gate, I was optimistic. Making pizzas reminds me of golf. It's just not fair at times.

Thanks for all your help.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 16, 2005, 09:21:59 PM
pft,

I assume by blister holes you mean on the bottom of the crust, not on the top. If that is so, I would think that they are most likely linked to your high temperature baking system. I say that in part because I have never seen a crust bottom like yours using my standard home oven. I tend to doubt that the cause is the yeast level, although what you used was higher than specified in ilpizzaiolo's recipe.

What were the sizes of the pizzas? 15 inches?

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 16, 2005, 09:34:49 PM
Yes. I am referring to the holes on the bottom of the pizza. I believe they are caused by bubbles which naturally have a thinner wall lining then a typical dough structure. The intense heat of the grill must incinerate it in no time. The connection I am drawing between the excess yeast and the blister holes is my belief that excess yeast causes excessive bubbling. Excessive bubbling is susceptable to incineration at an earlier stage than normal dough.

The skins were much smaller than 15". The dough balls weighed about 13 ounces each and only stretched to maybe 13 inches. I didn't measure them but they were noticably smaller than my usual. I used 1/10th of an ounce of IDY.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 17, 2005, 12:55:08 AM
I hate to throw water on some of this analysis, but...

I stand by my earlier comments. No changes in rise time or temp can compensate for the knead. By the end of the knead, it's a done deal.

oil in the dough is a no-no. I'm sure Marco will agree. Oil around the dough is a no-no too. A TINY amount of oil in the bowl to keep from sticking is ok.

Patsy's real dough is the most blistered I've ever worked with by a wide, wide margin.  That's a good thing, not something to be avoided to avoid burning.  The blistering is more a result of the kneading than the quantity of yeast. The knead determines the window paning, which corresponds well with the bubbling.

The burning is caused by poor heat distribution in the oven. Have you tried my suggestions with foil to fix some of the heat issues?

Knead times are affected by hydration, simply because the small home mixers cause the dough to stick to the hook and low hydrations, more or less stopping any real kneading action. Large commercial mixers, or spiral mixers don't have this problem. This is why I add flour gradually, so that a lot of mixing occurs at a higher hydration, even if I want a lower end hydration.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 17, 2005, 01:10:10 AM
Anyone who wants to work with the starter who is not already experienced with starters should by the book from Ed wood over at sourdo.com

Unless Marco want's to suggest another resource.
Title: Windowpaning
Post by: varasano on March 17, 2005, 01:16:27 AM
I want to discuss windowpaning and kneading.  When I say that something is "windowpaning very well" I mean that a 270g ball can be stretched to 20" or more without ripping.  Not that you would want a pizza that thin. But if the dough is REALLY kneaded right, that should be no problem.  It should be like streching out phyllo dough, if you really wanted it to.

I've made some really good pizzas without kneading to that point. But I can tell you that some of the best pies had that ability, and for SURE the Patsy's dough had that ability. I doubt that I'm exagerating when I say that the Patsy's dough, which was probably around 375g, could be streched to 30". It was actually hard to rip.  I've had a few conversations and taken a few samples from a high quality local baker and his dough was kneaded to that point too.

I don't think this is possible in a Kitchen Aid mixer. I've done it with a food processor with the steel blade (but it got too hot for the yeast) and almost there with the DLX, but not quite yet.

This is mostly about hydration and kneading (including the autolyse periods). The flour is a factor, but I've got this with AP too. It's more in the technique. This is why I'm not feeling like the Sir Lancelot is that important. It's more in the knead, I think.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 17, 2005, 07:08:38 AM
After having a night to sleep on my utter and complete failure, I am refreshed to go at it again. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the world's best pizza. Having said that, let's go:

pizzanapoletana,
The absorption rate issue is a good one to discuss. For Lancelot, 60% may be a little too dry. I don't know. It may be too dry for the typical home equipment we all have. What I do know is that a standard Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer is virtually incapable of kneading a 60% hydration dough well - using the dough preparation techniques suggested in my recipe.

So with the goal to produce a credible version of a Patsy's pizza with the available tools and ingredients most of us have, we will have to change. Either we all buy commercial grade equipment or we vary our mixing methods. I don't know about anybody else but the spouse approval factor for a Hobart would be very low in my house.

Combining varasano's comments into your absorption theory, it seems to me that the the answer does indeed lie in the mixing process - from beginning to end. I have nothing to lose by slowly adding in the flour over time to get good kneading up front. I can tell you, my experience with 60% Lancelot is that it spins around the hook looking real pretty and shiny but I didn't notice a lot of kneading going on. Maybe a waiting period after initial mixing wouldn't hurt either. All these things may help and according to varasano they do and will.

Varasano,
What I would ask that you do is first temporarilly switch back to using your Kitchen Aid. The theory being that if we can work out a viable set of mixing instructing on a Kitchen Aid than by default it should also work for the more powerful DLX. Then collaborate with Pete-zza on adjusting the mixing sequence instructions contained in the master recipe as a way of overcoming the difficulties of a 60% dough.

Now if the more learned members among us think that bumping up the hydration percentage wouldn't fundamentally alter the ultra-light crust we are desiring, than maybe that's a solution as well. Otherwise, let's try and get our home gear to be compatible with 60% Lancelot.

I appreciate the feedback on blisters, it is all very helpful. I will tinker my way through it by adding back a layer of brick first and then measuring results. I really should have known better than to adjust the height. I should have used some form of foil to make the minor adjustment required to get the perfect ratio of top and bottom heat. 

One other point I neglected to mention earlier. I measured the temperature of the dough ball at the hook immediately after the 16 minute mixing period and it was slightly over 85 degrees. That would be another indication that 16 minutes is too long. Hence my recommendation for a shorter mixing period.

As Jim Valvano once said: "Don't give up, don't ever give up."
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 17, 2005, 07:48:44 AM
cxxx
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 17, 2005, 08:58:30 AM
I think we all know that we aren't about to get the quality of kneading in our KitchenAids that commercial Hobart mixers produce. Early this morning I took a look at the stand mixers that KitchenAid and Hobart currently sell for home and commercial use, respectively, and the differences are stark. There are currently 9 models of home KitchenAid mixers ranging from 250 watts up to 575 watts, with most having around 10 speeds (although only a few can safely be used for kneading dough). By contrast, the Hobart mixers run from 1/2 hp to 2.7 hp, with no more than 4 speeds. Interestingly, even Hobart, with such powerful machines, recognizes the problems in kneading high-gluten doughs and low "AR" doughs (AR is the term used by Hobart for hydration percent). Hobart's specs specifically recommend reducing the rated dough batch size by 10% for high-gluten doughs and they say that certain speeds "should never be used on 50% AR or lower products". So it's quite clear that home stand mixers are no match, even for the relatively small amounts of dough to be made in a home environment. Maybe Jeff's machine is an exception, but I don't expect to see most of our members abandoning their KitchenAid units anytime soon.

I know from personal experience, shared by most of us I'm sure, that it is hard to knead a small amount of dough in a KitchenAid stand mixer, and often even larger amounts of dough. That is one of the reasons I frequently use either hand kneading (for small amounts of dough) or a food processor (using only the pulse switch and cool water to keep the dough temperature down). I agree with Jeff that kneading is highly important to the final outcome, and there may well be a strong correlation between the quality of the kneading and the final results, but I am not prepared to say that there aren't other things that take place after kneading that improve the final results. Jeff himself acknowleges the value of autolyse (rest) periods, where the quality of a dough improves without even touching it. And Marco acknowledged the same thing this morning. But even after the dough has been subjected to machine kneading and an autolyse, there is still biochemical activity taking place during fermentation that affects the gluten and other components of a dough, all for the better. A while back, I had an exchange with Tom Lehmann at PMQ, in which I happened to mention the "window pane" test, among other things, and Tom's response was, in part, as follows (in quotes):

"Forget about the "window" test. That is appropriate for making breads, but not pizza dough. For pizza dough you just want to mix the dough long enough to get a smooth appearance to the dough, no longer. If you want, you can take a piece of the dough just before you shape and dress it and stretch it out in your fingers and you will be amazed at how thin you can stretch the dough. This is due to biochemical gluten development. This is what allowed bakers to make breads and pizzas way before Mr. Hobart created his first patentable invention."

Peter

 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 17, 2005, 09:41:04 AM
I am intrigued by the potential of a viable go-forward strategy with our existing Kitchen Aid mixers. Sounds like this can be accomplished to a large degree if we get creative. Let's see if I understand varasano's, pizzanapoletnana's, and Pete-zza's point(s).

Varasano firmly believes that the early mixing procedure dictats the quality of the dough. More time spent in the beginning stages of mixing yields huge improvements. Did I get that right?

Pizzanapoletana believes that a rest period after machine mixing with some hand kneading will bring us to where we want to go to. Did I get that right?

Pete-zza believes in robust dough management techniques all along the way including after mixing, such as a 24hr refrigerated rise, will assist in developing the dough properly. Did I get that right?

If so, I do not sense that these potential solutions are mutually exclusive and would suggest the following for trial and error: Incorporate varasano's upfront mixing tips, rest periods, and pizzanapoletana's end of process rest period and ancient hand kneading approach. Then abide by Pete-zza's overarching techniques including let's say a 24 hour minimum time frame for a cold rise and other dough management techniques and we should be there. Make sense?

It would be a small price to pay (a little extra time) to enjoy the ultimate crust experience.

Feedback please!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 17, 2005, 10:09:22 AM
Last night I started a dough based on the 13-inch recipe I posted recently. My first thought was to hand knead the dough. I had been doing this sort of thing recently with the Caputo 00 doughs and thought that hand kneading a roughly 8-9 oz. ball of dough would be easy. Maybe I'm just a weak guy but I found it difficult to hand knead even that small a dough ball with the high-gluten flour and 60% hydration. Rather than doing that for 20 minutes, I finally decided to finish the kneading in my food processor. I thought to use an autolyse before adding the salt to the dough, but got distracted and forgot. I guess I will have to rely on fermentation to do the job.

A further point on rest periods. I realize that they are often used for low-protein doughs, such as those for Neapolitan style pizzas, and that is one of the few instances where I have used autolyses. I have tried them for NY style doughs using high-gluten flour but have not detected any particular advantage. I know that Jeff appears to have benefited from using them, so I am trying to keep an open mind. After all, it's hard to argue with success. But I'd like to see more evidence of their value in the context of using high-gluten flours. This is an area where I would like Marco or Dinks or any of our other knowledgeable professionals weigh in to get the benefit of their experiences. I do, agree, however, that gradually adding the flour to water is a good idea, if only to increase the rate of absorption of the water by the flour.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 17, 2005, 10:22:53 AM
This is great stuff guys, as I really believe we are getting to the heart of what will yield a Patsy's style dough and, for that matter, overall improved quality of any NY style pizza we attempt to produce.  The techniques of kneading and refrigeration/retardation are at the very core of how we can change the consistency and texture of a finished dough product.

I have some input regarding kneading that I believe will be helpful to this conversation.  It is based on my recent experiment with "Re-engineering DiFara's Pizza."  Many of you may recall that I reported a recipe for a DiFara clone that was very successful and, very simple.  You may also recall the amazement I expressed in how flavorful the texture and taste of the pizza dough was.  My amazement, at that time, stemmed from the simplicity of the ingredients - flour (KA00 and KASL), salt, water, and yeast.  In hindsight, I kept asking myself, "What in the world was so special about this process that made this pizza turn out so good?"  The feedback on this thread has motivated me to look back on that DiFara experience and take a closer look at what elements/techniques that I used that could have made such a simple recipe turn out so well.  Before I outline exactly what I believe made a difference in this DiFara experiment, I would also point out that the recipe I used was VERY similar to the one that we are discussing on this thread.  Hence, I believe the feedback I can provide, particularly as it relates to mixing, kneading, and refrigeration/retardation, can be very helpful as we continue our journey to replicate Patsy's pizza.  For sake of reference, here is the recipe that I used for the DiFara experiment (notice the great similarities to the Patsy's recipe):

5.82 oz.  KASL
3.88 oz.  KA00
6.3 oz.   Water
1/4 t.   Salt
1/2 t.  ADY

I proofed the ADY with the salt and the water in a KitchenAide mixer.  I used all the water for the recipe in the proofing and included the salt shortly after mixing the water and ADY.   After mixing the water, yeast and salt for about 4 minutes, I gradually added the flour mixture.  After a dough ball was formed I removed it from the mixer and hand kneaded it for about one more minute.  I then placed the dough ball in a plastic bag and placed it in the refrigerator for overnight refrigeration.


Now, for the follow up and detail review of the above stated technique.  In reviewing my technique, there were a few things that I did that were DIFFERENT than any other time that I made pizza dough, and after reading other posts on this thread, they made a HUGE difference in the outcome of this pizza.  Here are the keys as I perceive/remember them:

1.)  This was the FIRST TIME I had ever mixed the liquid in my stand mixer before adding the flour.  As Verasano suggested, I added the flour GRADUALLY, and it seemed to allow/encourage a very thorough mixing of the wet and dry ingredients without over-mixing or "beating up" the dough.

2.)  After a dough ball was created in the mixer at speed #2 and then speed #3, it began, as it normally does, to stick to the dough hook and seriously restrict the kneading process.  So, as a "change-up" to anything I had done before, I INCREASED THE MIXER SPEED TO 4-6 FOR THE FINAL 3 MINUTES OF MIXING.  4-6 is a speed on my mixer (there is no 5 or 4, just a setting that is "4-6").  I am convinced that this provided a valuable element to the stand mixer kneading process.  While some of the dough still stuck to the hook, the speed of the mixing periodically released the dough from the hook and provided some additional kneading, but for only a short period of time.  Another critical element, which was pointed out by Pizzanapoletana, is that I HAND KNEADED the dough for about 2 minutes after taking it out of the mixer.

3.)  The refrigeration/retardation of this experiment was also paramount in the process, in my opinion.  As reported on the "Re-engineering DiFara's" thread, I created two dough balls and refrigerated one for 24 hours and the other for about 40 hours.  Both pizzas turned out great, but I preferred the flavor and texture of the dough ball with the 40 hour rise.  Although, the 40 hour refrigeration made the dough very extensible and a bit more difficult to form.  Since both pizzas turned out good, my sense is the kneading technique was more responsible for the positive outcome than the refrigeration/retardation.  However, it does seem to indicate that a MINIMUM of a 24 hour refrigeration is invaluable.

4.)  I used a 65% hydration for this recipe, which is probably the biggest deviation from the recipe pft utilized in his most recent endeavor.  I believe that the higher hydration % that was used in this recipe made for a very "wet" dough, which did make it a bit tougher to form than say, a Lehman NY Style recipe.

5.)  Notice the minimal amount of salt used in this recipe.  I really can't say at all what effect this may or may not have had on the final product, but it is interesting to note.  Some of you may be able to offer insight on the ramifications/results of using minimal salt in the recipe.  I used it primarily because the KA00 tends to give off a "salty" taste as it is, so i didn't want to add any more salt that would make it too salty.  But I really don't know the effect it had on the fermentation, texture, etc.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 17, 2005, 10:56:46 AM
Friz,
Thanks for sharing.

I believe its time we focus in on crafting the Master Dough Preparation Sequence. I have modified the dough preparation sequence to include most of the great tips from our membership. I would appreciate a collaborative effort to review, comment and improve the sequence so that we are able to develop a definitive Master Dough Preparation Sequence which represents our collective best thinking. The benefit of developing a master template should be to allow a home pizza maker the greatest opportunity to experience general success in reproducing an authentic NYC style pizza. Additionally, it should allow the advanced pizza maker the opportunity to achieve greatness with a Patsy's style crust. It should be duplicatable for all no matter one's level of skill. To my knowledge this will be the first collaborative global effort to demystify the vagueries associated in dough making. We're talking about creating history. How's that for an ROI!

Master Dough Preparation Sequence:
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and starter (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Start mixing on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in half of remaining flour gradually. Allow the dough to rest for 3 minutes. Mix for 3 minutes on 2 adding in remaining flour. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes. During this time you can refresh your starter.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area using ancient knuckle and folding technique. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, wipe bowls lightly with oil, drop dough balls into bowls, cover with shower caps (a really neat tip from Pete-zza). Place dough and starter into the refrigerator to ferment for at least 24 hours. On the following day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature approximately 60 -120 minutes.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 17, 2005, 11:32:19 AM
PFT,
Great work and leadership on creating a "Master Dough Preparation Sequence."  As this sequence is refined and adjusted, it will be an invaluable  tool for any and all of us to utilize in our pizza making.  I would say, though, that at this point I'm not sure we have the exact kneading technique identified and/or perfected.  I tend to share Pete-zza's questions about the value and importance of an autolyse for pizza dough preparation.  As Pete has pointed out on several threads in the past, "it seems highly unlikely that  a commerical pizzeria would utilize an autolyse in its dough preparation techniques." 

While Pete and I may ultimately stand corrected in our belief at some point in time, it seems to me that more experimentation is need with and without an autolyse to determine its real benefit or not.  Like Pete, my sense is that the refrigeration/retardation serves the same purpose as that of an autolyse, but that is nothing more than gut level feeling on my part.  Pete may have some more scientific explanation for this.  I know that personally, I hope we find there isn't a need for an autolyse, as it would eliminate yet another time consuming step in dough preparation, albeit a somewhat minor one.

I would be happy to volunteer to initiate an experiment that tests the value of the autolyse.  It should be fairly simple - just create two doughs, one that includes an autolyse and one that does not.  Then compare and contrast the differences in the final product of each one, if there are any.  Although, I believe that Pete has conducted this experiment himself in the past.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 17, 2005, 12:14:38 PM
I hate to rain on the parade, but I think we are unduly complicating matters. Part of the problem in trying to lay out in detail all the steps for an ideal kneading sequence is that there are too many different models of stand mixers out there, with different powers, operating speeds (RPMs) and settings. That alone will throw off all the times and results. I think the more useful approach is to recite a simple sequence of steps and indicate the condition of the dough at the conclusion of each step that you are trying to achieve. The sequence may or may not include one or more rest periods. If Friz's or someone else's experimentation proves that such rest periods are valuable, then they can be included in the sequence. Like Friz, I would hope that rest periods are not necessary.

I also think there is a lot of latitude in how the dough is readied for refrigeration after the kneading is completed. As far as I am concerned, there are many possibilities, from using plastic storage bags, empty bread bags, plastic, wood or metal containers, etc. Remember that our refrigerators are not commercial coolers and they also vary all over the place, so there is no easy way of controlling whatever is to happen to the dough, in whatever container it reposes, once it gets into any particular refrigerator. From that point forward, the matter is pretty much in the hands of the Gods.

I would prefer that the sequence of events be defined in broad terms and leave the wordsmithing for later. In the meantime, experiments can proceed, with either a NY style or Patsy style in mind, and the results can be posted and used to refine the sequences if necessary. In this vein, I would invite Friz to do a side-by-side comparison to test out the concept of rest periods, trying as much as possible under the circumstances to have the two doughs/pizzas be as close to each other as possible--and as simple as possible--so as to provide a meaningful comparison of the results. This suggests as few toppings as possible so that the crust is the star of the show, not the toppings.

Peter

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on March 17, 2005, 01:28:51 PM
From experience i think that ilpzzaiolos recipe on the first page of this thread is a good working recipe.  At the pizza shop our recipe was similar only we did not use any straight yeast, we used 5 lb. of fermented dough for a 25 lb. flour recipe.  This was mixed using cool (@70F) water until just coming together and no wet spots were visible.  It was rested for 15 to 20 min. then mixed on low speed for 6 min.  This dough was portioned, balled up, covered and refrigerated for the following days use.  if it was needed sooner, a portion of it was left at room temp.
Pete-zza makes a good point.  Recipes are one thing but mixing times, different mixers, ambient temp., cold rising, are things that i would consider intangible.  Too many variables.  Each has to use these recipes as a guide line and make adjustments for YOUR working conditions.
I have never eaten Patsy's pizza so i am flying blind but i'll contribute what i can.
Barry
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 17, 2005, 01:59:44 PM
Pete-zza,
Simply put, I concur. I am a cheerleader in this entire process. I am not trying to enforce any particular approach to the final outcome. I truly want this to be a collaborative process where the experts join together to produce a world-class recipe.

bakerboy,
Nice of you to join the Patsy's party. I was so hopeful that you would jump in and today I noticed you did. Thanks for your tips and we all here appreciate another master pizzaiolo's input. Could you share with us some of your background so the community will have a sense your of depth of experience?

Also, I wanted to show a picture I took today of a batch I made utilizing the proposed "Master Dough Preparation Sequence." The dough was considerably wetter. I had a hard time accepting the fact that it still was a 60% hydration ball. I checked my math twice and it was true. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 17, 2005, 06:38:21 PM
pft,
Any sense of the factors that led to a wetter end product this time?  Something with the mixing time/technique?  The way you added the flour this time?  Any sense about what might have made a difference would be great to hear about.  It looks like a much more hydrated dough ball than 60%.
Friz
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 17, 2005, 06:57:24 PM
Friz,
I followed the master dough procedure to the letter. The answer to your question undoubtably had to be the rest periods. The upfront 20 minute rest period really set the whole process in motion. After that it was as if I couldn't add enough flour to dry it out.

My sense is the water was allowed enough time to super saturate the flour. The absorption process takes time. I am now convinced that you need to gradually introduce flour into the water. Absorption is not immediate.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 17, 2005, 11:10:44 PM
I made two dough balls tonight with this recipe.  One of the doughs I used the exact techniques that pft outlined and the other dough was made with no autolyse whatsoever.  I found very little difference between the end product of each respective dough.  They were almost identical in every way.  I certainly did not experience the "moistening" effect that pft did with his autolyse technique.  I used the same technique without any of the same results.  Actually, both of my dough balls resemble the texture that pft described in his initial effort with this recipe.  At this point, I am not very optimistic about this dough making a fluffy, light Patsy's pizza.  The dough ball already seems too elastic and dense, almost rock-like.

If I were to make a prediction, I would say that we will be jacking up the hydration percentage in this recipe very soon.  But, who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this experiment.
Title: VERY HELPFUL SPREADSHEET
Post by: varasano on March 18, 2005, 12:51:14 AM
Save this to your drive and we can all use it:

http://www.think2020.com/jv/Dough/PizzaRecipe.xls
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 18, 2005, 01:02:53 AM
Unfortunately, I don't have time to read all of these posts.  I'm not going to have time to make many batches in the near future.   I'll mail out the starter on Mon.

Going back to my Kitchen aid??? ...It's kind of like asking me to ride a tricycle to work. I'll give it one shot since I now have more experience with autolyse and gradual inclusion of flour. But I was ready to throw the machine out a window when I finally went on the hunt for a replacement.

The DLX is only $469. It's not the price of a Hobart. I did a LOT of research into finding the right machine and was even willing to spend $1500 and ended up with this machine. I'm pretty happy with the improvement, although I think a commercial spiral mixer may be even better.

I'll tell you this, a low hydration dough in the Kitchen Aid will never happen. We may yet end up with a higher hydration recipe and then the KA may have some use. Otherwise, it's a museum piece.

In the spreadsheet I'm using a huge amount of starter compared to what Marco uses. The measurement of 440g starter per 1100g batch is right, I've measured that.  But the other measurements are guesses since I've never measured.  I'm going to go back and make a batch using my own best recipe, but this time I'm going to measure.

I've got the starter listed as a 50/50 batter. I'm not going to be anal about measuring the actual hydration of it. I'm just going to assume that that's about right.


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 18, 2005, 04:08:12 AM
The Food Network is doing a Pizza & Pasta weekend. Check it out.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 18, 2005, 07:19:59 AM
Friz,
I'm as baffled as you are. From the picture I posted you can see the copious amounts of wetness in the dough. Late last night I peeked at the dough in the fridge and the dough balls seemed dense and hard upon poking. Just like the last batch. So maybe once the dough balls are formed they revert back to being dense somehow.

Now one possible difference is I used 2 tablespoons of starter. Other than that, I cannot think of why there is a difference. I will take photos tonight of what the dough looks like as I prepare for pizza night.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 18, 2005, 08:27:17 AM
PFT,
It will be interesting to see the results.  You are right, the only thing that I could sense would make a difference in our preparation was your use of a starter. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 18, 2005, 05:29:24 PM
Was it a Patsy's quality crust?

Well almost. It was definitely a big step in the right direction. Dough was allowed to warm to room temperature for 3 hours after a cold rise of exactly 24 hours. It was much easier to work with and stretch. No holes. You can almost see the moisture on the dough balls. They were much much wetter than the last batch and not anywhere as dense. Excellent results across the board. Verified by entire family. Sorry about the grill spring shots not being part of the series but on both pies they were too blurry to post. Spring was superb. My opinion is that the recipe works very well and produces my most competent crust yet. I'm grinning right now.

Pie number 1 was a pepperoni with Grande Whole milk mutz. Pie number 2 was a Margherita with Polly - O Fresh Mutz.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 18, 2005, 05:30:57 PM
More pictures of the pepperoni pie which is favored by my family. Sorry about the blurry shots...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 18, 2005, 05:32:50 PM
Pictures of the Margherita pie with Polly - O fresh mutz
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 18, 2005, 05:34:13 PM
More of pie #2
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 18, 2005, 06:28:59 PM
I'm going to be in NYC on the 27th and 28th. Is Patsy's and Di Fara's open on Sunday? If so, I'm going to load up on pies and pictures.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 18, 2005, 11:56:38 PM
Patsy's is open on Sunday.  let me know if they continue to go downhill. I got a report recently. very bad. Such a shame.

These pies look pretty good. Still too much heat on top, I think.  Pretty good blistering. I think you can lighten your ball and make the same size pie.  It's so tempting to load up on ingredients, but if you look at Patsy's or Marco's pies, you'll see theres much less sauce and cheese. It's strange, because you wouldn't think it would affect the crust, but somehow it does.  I suggest you lighten quite up a bit.

Have you downloaded my spreadsheet? that's an awesome sheet for this project.


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 18, 2005, 11:57:34 PM
What was the total bake time on these pies?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 19, 2005, 05:32:56 AM
I do have a heavy hand for toppings bacause my family likes it that way. It's a hard habit to break. In general you are right less is more when it comes to toppings. I just have to bring them along slowly with the concept. I do have them believing in less sauce but they still like their cheese to be thick.

I need your wisdom to even out the heat issue because I'm at a brick wall. How would you go about reducing the top heat in a grill? I can figure out how to do it for lowering bottom heat but I'm perplexed.

Regarding bake time for the pies, I pop the top on the grill right at the 3 minute mark or slightly less depending on length of preheat. One of the limitations of grill cooking is that you can't see through the hood. At the temperatures we are cooking at 5 seconds either way makes a huge difference.

Your spreadsheet is great for pizza recipes. Thanks!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 19, 2005, 10:13:50 AM
Take some photos of your grill and setup and let's take a look. Include any foil positionings that you use right now.

Also, every once in a while, try a pie with almost nothing on it. Like 3oz of tomato and 5 little cubes of cheese, maybe 2cm cubes and that's it. Probably 80% less than what you've got now. Going down gradually on the toppings will not show them the benefit. Pies with a medium amount of toppings may have less topping (which they don't like) with none of the benefit of creating a super-light patsy's style pie.

Also give me your dough weight and width.  Petezza, your dough thickness calculations are a bit off because the rim is thicker than the middle. pfTaylor, Try one 13" pie with 275g and you will see that is the right thickness. I think you are making the crust too thick right now to support many toppings.  You are going to have an instant jump towards your goal once you lighten everything. See the photos at this link and at my site too:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,806.0.html


I saw in a post that you use Pellegrino Water. I have a huge whole-house carbon filtration system, so I use that.  Maybe we should agree on a standard water for these experiments.  I was thinking that Dasani is pretty good and readily available.  I haven't seen Pellegrino, but I'm sure I could get some. But I actually like the Dasani better for drinking. Any comments?

I see a big debate on another thread about starter % which is at 1-40% depending on who you ask.  I am not attached to my high number. I got that number from Ed Wood at Sourdo.com. Marco says that's a bread number, not a pizza number. I'm not in a position to argue with Marco. I can say that my pies with it are super light now, much lighter than ever before.  It took a quantum jump when I switched the DLX and increased the hydration. But I did not change the starter %. I tried it one time Marco's way. It was a flop, but I can't blame him because it was a totally different process and I'd have to get used to it. I'm also using different flour, etc.

I wish I had time to try all these things, but I'm trying to run a company here and shouldn't even be here writing these emails, much less dirtying up my kitchen every day with pizza experiments.  But someday I'll get to all of this.

Let me also mention that while we are all trying to get our bake times lower and lower, I'm pretty sure that Patsy's is at 4 Min. This is something that someone should time the next time they are there. (except that the pies stink now, ugh). I personally have never made a great pie in 4Min. I'm at about 2-2:30 most of the time now.

Jeff



Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 19, 2005, 10:18:45 AM
Marco,

Can you post photo's a pie (top and bottom) with an exact amount of time it spent in the oven. Also exact width and dough weight, preferably for a 13" pie.

Thanks,

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 19, 2005, 10:54:17 AM
I am continuing my experiment with this recipe using an autolyse vs. not using one.  In checking the dough balls in the refrigerator this morning, after about a 35 hour refrigeration, I was shocked at the difference in the two dough balls!  The dough ball without an autolyse remained dense and hard without changing its characteristics much since refrigeration. On the other hand, the dough ball with the autolyse seemed to "blossom" since refrigeration.  It expanded nicely and has now taken on a very nice "airy" kind of look and feel to it.  It is very similar to some of my Lehman doughs. 

More will certainly be learned after baking tonight, but early signs indicate a vast difference between autolyse vs. non-autolyse.  This now also has me wondering about the effect an autolyse would have on the Lehman recipe or the DiFara hybrid?!!  I look forward to everyone's opinions, predictions, and feedback on this.  I also made another batch of my DiFara hybrid and it is currently refrigerating.  More on the that on the DiFara thread...
Friz
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 19, 2005, 11:04:06 AM
pft,
Regarding the burning/blistering on the top of your pizzas and how to fix it...  I mentioned on another post recently (I believe the DiFara post), the value of using a pizza stone in this case, over tiles.  Recently, I have been removing the pizza from my oven WHILE IT REMAINS ON THE STONE.  The top of the pizza is sufficiently cooked, I don't want to burn or blister the top, but I need another minute or so to crisp the bottom.  By removing the stone with the pizza on it, the bottom still receives high heat (the stone stays super hot for a long time), and you avoid burning on the top.  Obviously, this isn't possible with tiles but it is certainly one of, and maybe the only, values of a stone over tiles.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 19, 2005, 12:08:22 PM
Hey Friz,

I hate to be critical, but I have to say that moving the stone while it's that hot seems dangerous. Stones are heavy and clumsy to move on a peel. At 800F they are actually hotter than the kindling point for many household items. I know that pfTaylor uses a grill so he's outside, but still I feel this is not the best solution for him. We are already on shaky ground baking at these temps as it is.  The odds of it eventually dropping and cracking seem very high given it's weight and the fact that it can't be handled with hands, even with mits on.  Also, when baking many pies for a party (I did 14 recently), the stone needs to stay in the hot oven. I feel certain that this problem can be solved with aluminum foil. 

Thanks for the report on the autolyse period. Let us know how the pie turns out.

I just fed a backup culture that I've had in my fridge for proabably a whole year.  I want to see how long I can go without feeding it and still have it be viable. The culture was all gray and looked gross. But actually it smelled wonderful. Pure alcohol. It smelled like a fine wine aging. Really, I was very surprised. I'll see if it comes back to life. Could take a few days of using Ed Wood's washing procedure.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 19, 2005, 12:49:17 PM
New spreadsheet: even better

http://www.think2020.com/jv/Dough/PizzaRecipe.xls
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 19, 2005, 02:17:11 PM
Yesterday I made a pizza that followed the recipe for a dough (previously reported) for a very thin 13-inch pizza. (I had scaled down ilpizzaiolo's recipe to a 13-inch size, and used a thickness factor of around 0.065). The dough was made partly by hand and partly using my food processor, which I found necessary because I was having difficulties hand kneading a high-gluten flour dough with a 60% hydration. The finished dough went into the refrigerator for a fermentation that ran to about 44 hours before I removed the dough from the refigerator and allowed it to rise at room temperature (for about an hour and a half) before shaping, dressing and baking. The pizza was baked on a pizza stone that had been preheated for about an hour at 500-550 degrees F.

The dough handled very well. It was both extensible and elastic. Because I was trying to shape and stretch a dough ball weighing around 8.6 oz. into a 13-inch skin, I tried following D.C. Pizza Maker's shaping/stretching instructions as closely as possible. That worked up to a point, but I had to resort to other stretching methods to finish shaping the skin since I don't have a marble or granite work area to use to expand the diameter of the dough in the manner DCPM describes. I also didn't want to work the middle of the dough too much, for fear of causing thin spots or tearing.  So what I did was this: I clenched my right fist into a ball, draped the partially stretched dough skin over my clenched fist and my right forearm and, while holding the edge of the skin with my left hand, gradually turned the skin while stretching it at the same time using my clenched fist. The clenched fist and forearm kept the dough skin balanced and prevented it from drooping through the force of gravity and getting away from me. I would say that that was the most important lesson I took away from the exercise. It worked beautifully and I could have stretched the skin even further had I wanted.

The photos below show the finished product. The best I can say about the pizza is that it was tasty. It had many of the characteristics of a NY style pizza in that it had a chewy, leathery character, softness in the center, and a crunchy rim. But it was not as good as, say, a crust based on a Lehmann NY style dough. And it wasn't nearly as good as the Neapolitan style pizzas I have been making recently. And I can't say that I know how to improve it in any significant way, except possibly to use a higher hydration, a bit of oil (which would be an un-Patsy-like thing to do), and an even thinner crust with a thicker rim. I might even go in the opposite direction, toward a thicker crust.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 20, 2005, 03:18:36 AM
I saw the world Pizza championships on the Food network. Every pie from the winner on down to the loser looked freakin horrible. What a silly, pointless contest. The US team was comprise of 'regional' competitions held in NY and Ohio.  Surprise, the team of 6 had 4 guys from Ohio. One was a domino's franchisee. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 20, 2005, 03:50:55 AM
Water    Starter    ADY          Salt     Mix/Rest         Flour Type      Water Type
63.00%   42.00%   0.75%   2.50%   1/20/6/6/4/20   KA Bread   Filtered

I'm going to report my doughs this way, by simply copying the row off my spreadsheet.  The 63% hydration is the total hydration, including all the water in the starter. I've never used IDY only ADY, but I'm going to switch over. ASAP to IDY.

The spreadsheet was very useful. I couldn't seem to incorporate all the flour so I had to go back and adjust the spreadsheet to allow for these kinds of post-mixing adjustments. So there's a new spreadsheet up  now.

Anyway, 63% seems wet, but I couldn't really have gotten much more flour in it and still have had a wet dough. I'm not in love with how this dough felt. It was soft, but not that smooth. I'll see what happens to it. My primary goal was to measure for the first time, using my standard best recipe. I want to get a baseline.

I will probably use this dough in 18 hours. I usually age more, but my schedule is not going to permit it and I wanted to squeeze a pie in.

jeff

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 20, 2005, 10:43:01 PM
Last night was the final phase of my experiment with two doughs, one with autolyse and one without.  Once again, I was surprised with the outcome.  After the refrigeration period, I thought for sure that the autolyse dough would perform much better than the non-autolyse dough. 

What I found was that the non-autolyse dough was very elastic and not very extensible at all.  As a matter of fact, I reached a point where I stopped trying to stretch it to the desired diameter and settled for half an inch smaller, thereby producing a slightly thicker crust.  The good news is that the end product was actually very tasty and had good texture.  The bad news is that the taste and texture was nothing like a Patsy's pizza.  It was more like a low hydration Lehman style taste and texture.  But it did crisp nicely and had a good chew.  But it certainly wasn't "light and airy" like the Patsy's pizza is described.

The autolyse dough was much more extensible and not quite as elastic.  I was able to stretch it to the recommended diamater and, as a result, produced a thinner crust than the non-autolyse pizza.  The end product though, was very ordinary.  The rim was very similar to the non-autolyse rim.  The middle portion of the crust was indeed thin, but didn't have great crisp and had a "flat" chew.  My sense is that if I could have stretched the non-autolyse dough to the diameter of the autolyse dough, the pizzas would have been identical in taste and texture.  Both were very edible and tasted fine, just nothing like a Patsy's pizza.

Based on this experiment, I am not sold on the value of an autolyse whatsoever.  But hey, that's just me.  I did, however, create identical doughs with the only difference being the autolyse.  At the end of the experiment there was nothing that separated the autolyse dough from an end product standpoint.  Although, the autolyse dough did handle better than the non-autolyse dough before baking.  Hope this feedback helps in our ongoing experiment.
Friz
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 20, 2005, 11:57:23 PM
Minor differences can really throw this process off, which is why it's so hard.  I too had a mediocre result tonight. I measured for the first time, but in trying to hit the 60% hydration number that many throw around, I forced too much flour into my dough and the end result was dense, chewy and almost crispy. It was not a good crust. I'm thinking right now that my best results were probably 65% hydration. But I have to try again, because this was the first time I've ever measured.

Once again though, I knew the second I took it out of the machine that it was not my best work. I took one of the 3 doughs, gave it a 15 minute rest and then tried to stretch it out. I could tell I was in trouble. Ripping, no windowpaning, etc. I may even make a few batches without even baking them. I want to practice just the mixing phase and perfect getting it to a certain feel. I'm going to run a few experiments where I take half the batch out and keep mixing the other half and compare the two.

These pies were nothing like the great pies I made in Dec, Jan and Feb. 

I did make excellent progress on my cheese though. I started with a local fresh mutz that has previously broken down (this is the cheese you see breaking down in the photo on my web page). I did a few things different with it.
 - I dried it by straining it and wrapping it in paper towels for 3 hours. This really dried it a lot.
 - I cut it into cubes instead of slices, hoping the thickness would give it a few more minutes before it broke down
 - I put the cheese on cold, instead of room temp, thinking this would give it more time
- I put just a drop of sauce on top of each piece (just 6 little blocks)

This worked perfectly. this was my overall best cheese result in a long time, maybe ever.

I can report that my culture that sat unfed in fridge for a solid year and was nearly black with hooch has now been nursed back to health. It looks fine and smells great after just 36 hours of rinsing and feeding.

Jeff

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on March 21, 2005, 01:15:38 PM
FRITZ 78:
  Good Afternoon. I read of your dough experiment with much interest. I hope you do not mind me asking you of this question. Can you post every move you did including the ingredients  that you performed for the "AUTOLYSE" ????. Good luck & have a nice day my friend.
     ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: friz78 on March 25, 2005, 05:01:18 AM
Dinks,
The autolyse technique that I used for this experiment was identical to the one that pftaylor outlined in Reply #61 of this thread.  I tried to follow this technique exactly as pft outlined it.  Here is the exact text from pft's post:

Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and starter (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Start mixing on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in half of remaining flour gradually. Allow the dough to rest for 3 minutes. Mix for 3 minutes on 2 adding in remaining flour. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes. During this time you can refresh your starter.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area using ancient knuckle and folding technique. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, wipe bowls lightly with oil, drop dough balls into bowls, cover with shower caps (a really neat tip from Pete-zza). Place dough and starter into the refrigerator to ferment for at least 24 hours. On the following day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature approximately 60 -120 minutes.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 25, 2005, 07:29:52 AM
Varazano,
I use a 13.5 - 14 (depending on the amount of starter) ounce ball for about a 15 inch pizza. Regarding the amount of ingredients, believe it or not I'm already on the thin side. These comments specifically refer to my Margherita pies not the pepperoni pies you may have also seen. I use 2.5 - 3 ounces of tomato sauce and 4 - 5 ounces of cheese.

My grill configuration is simple: two rows of tile stacked on the grate with no foil of any kind anywhere. I preheat the grill for about 30 minutes and then quickly pop open the hood, slide in the pie, and hit the timer. 3 minutes later, I pop the hood, peel the pie off the tile and bring inside to the ravenous heathens.

I have made pies for tonight which I will take a few pictures of with deviations of a pinch of sugar and 1 teaspoon of oil. The sugar was added at the initial mixing phase and the oil was added after the 20 minute rest. I am hoping to get a slightly less dry finished dough with the addition of oil while keeping the hydration at 60%.

At 60% hydration the dough is very difficult to stretch into a 15" skin. I'm hoping the addition of oil will ease that issue a bit as well.

One thing I've learned since using rest periods during mixing: the 60% hydration dough feels wetter than the 66% hydration dough without rest periods. But the finished product is much drier at 60% than at 66%. Counter-intuitive to say the least. But as with so many other things related with this hobby, what you see may not be what it really is. Which leads me to believe that one cannot conclusively determine by the feel of the raw dough ball whether its a wet or a dry dough or whether it is a high or low hydration percentage recipe. It clearly depends on the mixing procedure.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on March 25, 2005, 08:59:22 AM
pftaylor, was wondering when you said you place double layer of quarry tiles on the grilling grate... do you mean down over the burners...or .... on top of the normal grilling area?? I have tried both ways without success on the overall end result either totally burned or when on top of the normal grilling area...the top edge is'nt cooked. Just wondering thanks!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Nathan on March 25, 2005, 09:03:29 AM
Other than the real champ dough tosser I was sick to my stomach. :-X
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 25, 2005, 09:09:29 AM
MTPIZZA,
My grill utilizes a substantially different approach from all other grilling technologies. It uses infra-red heating which basically means it doesn't use all direct heat which would badly burn pizza. It uses something like only 40% direct heat. The end result is a pizza which isn't burned on the bottom yet is fully cooked. I can fully cook a two inch steak in 6 minutes with perfect searing. With a normal gas or charcoal grill it use to take substantially longer and the meat would be dried out quite often.
 
I do not place the tiles on the heating elements. They are at 1400 degrees. I place them on the channel grates just like you would normally cook a steak. The grates are located about six inches from the heating elements.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 25, 2005, 07:06:17 PM
Here's my final attempt to clone a Patsy's pizza before my upcoming trip to NYC. The fresh mutz Margherita which was especially delicious. The added OO did the trick because the dough was much easier to stretch to 15". Even though the recipe was at 60% hydration, the dough was rather wet feeling to the touch. Very strange considering I previously used a 66% hydration and the dough was somewhat drier to the touch. Not sure what it means but it is obvious none the less.

I apoligize in advance for all the photos but this pie was tops in my book. I varied the recipe by adding a pinch of sugar and a teaspoon of OO. It made a difference...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 25, 2005, 07:07:25 PM
More goodness...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 25, 2005, 07:21:38 PM
Those who have been following my cloning efforts will take special notice of the following key points:

1) No blister holes on the bottom. I have no clue why but I'm not asking questions. The crust was perfectly charred. Not a trace of burning either on top or the bottom. That was a huge step up in my book.

2) It was my most competent crust yet by far. A true layer of crispy veneer with a fluffier than fluffy middle topped by a light handed topping layer. I used 2oz of sauce and 4oz of cheese. The pie was about 15" round.

3) The cheese wasn't burned. Why? Because I dipped the cheese chunks in the sauce before applying.

4) There was virtually no tip droop. No small feat for the home pizza maker.

5) It was also my lightest crust yet. Varazano is on to something about going lighter on the topping. It seems to have an affect on the crust somehow.

6) In order to keep my family at bay with the lighter than normal toppings, I had to bribe them with a clone of a Di Fara calzone. Italian salami, ham, pepperoni, 3 different cheeses. They left me alone after that.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 26, 2005, 12:32:15 AM
post a bunch of photos of your grill setup so I can see if I can suggest some changes for the heat distribution.

Your sauce looks dry. Do you precook it? I only strain mine. 

These pies look like huge improvements. I didn't get a chance to send the starter, but I'll do it this week for sure. I think you will find it will be another big jump towards your goal.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 26, 2005, 08:09:36 AM
Varasano,
Here are the pictures of the grill setup. I have just added the smaller side pieces as a way to try and keep more heat lower. The manufacturer recommended to leave ample room on either side of the tiles to allow the heat to rise. According to them, I am the only one they are aware of who uses a TEC grill for pizza. They didn't think it could be done.

The tiles are unglazed quarry tiles 8" x 8" x 3/8". The part of the grill that warps is the piece with the vent slots. It bows inward making it impossible to close the hood completely. One of the shots shows how the hood almost closes all the way but not quite. There is a small crack.

Regarding the sauce. It was not cooked but it was not fresh San Marzano either. It was a full red or some kind of tomato sauce made especially for pizza. I bought it at the Italian market here in FL. Unfortunately, I have run out of the good stuff. I know you do not care for Patsy's sauce but I do and I will figure out how to clone their recipe as well...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 26, 2005, 08:10:12 AM
Rule Number 7 is the one I have not paid attention to...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on March 26, 2005, 09:30:17 AM
Thanks for all those great pics....you certainly have advanced to the upper echelon of pie making and I know your family considers you their pizziola!!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on March 26, 2005, 02:25:50 PM
FRIZ 78:
   Good Afternoon.  After reading your post  #84 you said words to the affect that your experiment with & with-out the use  of the autolyse technique there seemed no differance between the two after baking.
   After reading that, I felt that there was the possibilty that the autolyse technique wasn't being utilized as was intended by it's pioneer, Professor Raymond Calvel, The noted & foremost expert on bread production in France & also an author as well.
  Friz, If you do not mind I would like to post the accepted technique including the 2 exceptions to the rule as well.

      COMES NOW:

    In a  TRUE autolyse just the flour & water are mixed. They are mixed for about 2 minutes til you get a viable mass. Then cover very well for 20 to 60 minutes.  Then you mix in the balance of the ingredients, total mixing time is 8, minutes. (More about this later).

    Notice that pre-ferments were not mentioned because you do not mix them in at the beginning. because of the high acidity caused by the yeast fermenting.
The two exceptions to the rule are  a "LIQUID LEVAIN"  & or a "TRUE POOLISH".
   The reason why these two concoctions can be used is because they have a high water liquid percentage to them. Because of that it lends itself to hydrate the flour nicely.
   This autolyse technique is  a great benefit for sourdough production because it offsets the levain's hi-acidity, & bread volume increases.

      The word Poolish in FRENCH means Polish. It was the Polish bakers who pioneered the sponge technique & the French bakers honor them by referring to a starter with equal weights of water & flour & some yeast as a poolish.

   If a starter is going to be used it must be a TRUE poolish. Why????, because a true poolish is a mixture of equal weights of flour & water. A very small amount of yeast is used depending on the length of time you intend to have it ripen.I use about 1/2 of 1% & I keep it in the fridge about 18 hours, you must experiment yourself with it. Usually they ripen from 4 hours to a over-nite in the re-fridge. As you know Friz, when ready you will see a zillion bubbles on top. If you see crown top to it, It isn't ready yet But the moment it begins to recede it's time to use .The yeast is spent & fermentation is completed. To do a TRUE poolish for a autolyse use 1/3rd of the flour amount  in the recipe, add a like amount of water ie, recipe calls for 27 oz of flour use 9, oz of flour & 9, oz of water. &  add yeast & mix to a paste, flour needs to be well incorporated.  You can mix  this poolish in when ripened with the balance of the flour & water  of the recipe only. Cover well for 20 to 60 minutes. then you can mix in the balance of ingredients. You only mix for 8 total minutes instead of 10 minutes which is good  because as you know it means less oxidation is being formed & Peter is very concerned with limited oxidation.

   Friz, I purposely did not wish to explain the chemical aspects of the food science of the inter-action of these ingredients & when & why they are added or not added at different times.
I thought Peter probably will do that, I do not have the patience for all that & besides his typing is better than my 1 index finger  method that I use to type with.
   Friz, I hope you try again & come back & tell us of your new found success in dough mixing.
   Good luck & have a nice day my friend.
    ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 26, 2005, 05:20:20 PM
Dinks,

Thank you for the lucid and learned discussion of the phenomenon of autolyse.

I myself first became aware of the benefits of autolyse in the context of making sourdough breads, and for the reasons you mentioned--to get increased hydration, reduce the overall knead time, and achieve greater volume expansion of the dough. But it is still not clear to me whether autolyse is all that beneficial to making pizza dough. I could understand it if one wanted a more bread-like crust, possibly a Sicilian or foccaccia type crust, but I'm not sure that it is nearly as desirable for, say, a NY style crust or a Patsy's type crust, both of which are intentionally thin. I know that Peter Reinhart is an advocate of using what I would call a a modified version of autolyse in his recipes (I say modified because he combines and mixes everything in a bowl), but I wonder whether that idea comes from his background in baking and his experience in having actually run a bread bakery before he became a professor of baking science. I know that many artisanal bread bakes use autolyse, but are you aware of any professional pizza operators who regularly use autolyse, in any form, in their pizza making operations to make doughs, and specifically the NY style or a Patsy's style dough? It would seem to me that the process is too complicated to be used by the kitchen workers whose job it is to make the dough. It's quite possible that some Neapolitan pizza makers use autolyse, or some modified version of it, but even there it is not all that clear whether there are benefits to doing so. Maybe this is an area that Pizza Napoletana can enlighten us.

The notion of keeping oxidation of the dough in check came to me for the first time from Peter Reinhart in his book American Pie. I realize that oxidation is very important to dough production (e.g., the yeast apparently needs it to do its job), but that excessive oxidation, as through prolonged and aggressive kneading, can do harm to the color and certain flavor- and color-enhancing vitamins (mainly carotenoids) in the flour. I understand that using salt early on in the dough kneading process, as by combining the salt with all the other dry ingredients before adding the liquid ingredients (which is a method used by Peter Reinhart), serves to slow down the oxidation of the flour and preserve the color and flavor- and color-enhancing vitamins in the flour. However, if a true autolyse is desired, this would suggest that the salt be withheld until after the autolyse. In this case, are the concepts of autolyse and oxidation minimization mutually compatible? I assume they are to the extent that you can use 8 minutes instead of 10 minutes total knead time as a result of having used the autolyse. Is that so?

You also mentioned that you use a "true poolish" at 0.5%. What does that percent relate to, the yeast in the poolish or the amount to use in relation to the weight of the flour or water in the formulation that is to use the poolish?

I believe that pftaylor has been using a "true poolish" or something close to it, except that he has been referring to it as a "biga", in deference to his Italian heritage. Assuming that he has the right starter in the right condition (ripening), how much of it do you recommend he use, by weight of water or flour, in his quest to perfect his Patsy-style dough?

Have a nice day, my friend.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 27, 2005, 09:18:39 AM
One last post before preparing to leave for the airport on my way to pizza heaven (NYC). Let's see if I have the right tools:

7mp Digital Camera (fully charged & with plenty of memory) - Check

Tape Measure - Check

Digital Scale - Check

Plastic Glad Bags - Check

Hearty Appitite - Check

I will try and engage Patsy's, Una, and Dom in meaningful conversation about their preparation techniques. I will also try and buy a raw dough ball from each. From the dough balls I should be able to provide Pete-zza with precise data to aid in our respective home cloning projects.

The only problem is I am traveling to Rochester on Tuesday and will not return to my home until Thursday. I doubt the raw dough balls will last that long. I'm worried about the delaterious effects of freezing dough (massive yeast kill) for that long.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on March 27, 2005, 11:11:27 AM
pft,

About the only thing I can think of is to bring an insulated carrier and use some of those gel-paks (frozen), which you may have to refreeze from time to time, if that's possible. If you have access to a refrigerator where you can store the insulated carrier (with the doughs within), that might help also. All you can hope to achieve is to slow down the activity in the dough until you get back home.

If you can weigh the dough balls, you may want to do that as soon as possible after you buy them, so that they don't start to dehydrate. Knowing the weight of the dough balls and the size of pizzas (diameters) that correspond to the dough balls will be a big help to us in deciphering the Patsy's and DiFara codes.

I wish you all the best for your trip and meetings with Dom et al.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 27, 2005, 05:19:03 PM
Here is an early report on Patsy's located in East Harlem.

The news on balance is not encouraging. Though not totally bad. The dough has changed since I ate there last. I'm certain of it. I was disappointed in a number of things, happy with others, but first let's get out the facts:

1) Eating in NY is not cheap. Getting to your favorite restaurant costs real dollars and isn't cheap either. I was worried about not finding a cab home from East Harlem so I took a Limo from the hotel at $35 each way plus bridge tolls ($4.5), and tip. Figure on $100 round trip just for transportation. No small investment. I also spent $30 on a large fresh mutz Margherita with a diet coke and two dough balls including tip.

2)I spent at least 30 minutes talking "pizza" with Jose the pizzaiolo (I originally thought a possible owner but it was verified Jose is not) who has been working at Patsy's since 1976. I spoke with him both before and after eating. His daughter also has worked there for the past three years. His son does as well.

3) I bought two dough balls and weighed them immediately. The first weighed 12.1 ounces, the second weighed 12.4 ounces. I re-weighed both balls a number of times and the weights are accurate. Why would the balls weigh so much differently?

4) Jose claims he makes a 16" pie. Fact is I measured it to be just under 15". I measured his double length peel, it was 16" across. Visually my pie at home is the same size or a little larger. Mine isn't quite as circular though or as razor thin.

5) Jose shared his dough ingredients; flour, water, OO, sugar, and salt. We spoke at length on the list and he assured me with a fatherly delivery that he uses all five. Not much oil. Not much sugar. But some. He starts out mixing the batter with a big dough spoon. After a while he claims he turns on the machine.

6) I noticed 50lb Gold Metal bags of flour. Couldn't tell if they were high gluten or not. I also noticed Sassone Olive Oil. At first glance I thought it was Berio OO because it was visually similiar. My guess is it is a cheap knock-off.

7) The dough has changed. The sauce has changed. The cheese is the same. The glorious oven is the same. My pie had three dough tears from Jose trying to stretch the dough in his hands. He punctured the dough right in front of me. It was almost embarrassing frankly. I took plenty of pictures of his dough stretching technique. I would relate it to how DC PM described to stretch a ball on the bench. Except that after it was stretched to about 12" round, Jose picked it up and began stretching it on his knuckles. At this point he routinely tore the skin. I witnessed at least 10 pies he tore shortly after he picked up the dough. The skin was very easy to patch though simply by tugging one side of it over the other and pressing downward. He fixed so many tears so quickly it almost seemed like he had accepted holes as a normal result.

When I was last at this Patsy's I vaguely remember the pizzaiolo beating the hell out of the dough. This trip, the dough appeared very soft. With a very small rim. It was also pretty wet to the touch. Just under sticky would be an accurate description. I would have to say that based on my limited knowledge it appeared to be a high gluten type based dough ball.

8) Just for kicks, when I got back to the room, I stretched one of the dough balls to 15" fairly easily by utilizing my normal stretching procedure. It didn't tear at all and I did take pictures of the finished skin. I should be able to upload all the pictures sometime on Thursday. The skin turned out to be much thinner than my home effort with a much smaller rim. In fact, there barely was any discernible rim at all. There were very few bubbles in the dough. I smelled the dough for signs of some sort of preferment and could not detect any fermentation smell at all. I asked Jose how many times a day he makes dough and he said once. The finished balls are cooled for a day in a cooler located behind the oven. His son (I think) brings them out in small quantities (two trays at a time) because the working space is so small.

9) The sauce was applied with a very heavy hand. In fact, my pie was swimming in sauce. Jose took a completely filled ladle (normal sized which I'm sure most of us have in our kitchen) of sauce and spread it on the pies. It had to of been every bit of 3 ounces of very thin looking canned sauce. It certainly was not based on true San Marzano tomatoes.

10) The result of all that sauce was a completely limp crust which could not be picked up with one hand. I ended up eating most of it with a knife and fork.

In short, it appears that Jose believes in the power of his mighty oven so much that he has changed his ingredients. While the pie tasted great, there were too many negatives for me to say that it is even anywhere near as good as the Patsy's at the corner of 34th and 3rd. That Patsy's is much better than Grimaldi's as I found out on my trip last October.

I felt Jose's frustration with his tearing dough and wanted to ask some hard questions but he was such a delightful man I didn't want to press the conversation on what was obviously a major reduction in quality.

Then it occured to me that Patsy's is no longer a whole pie place. It appeared that he served 50 slices for every whole pie he served in the restaurant section. Maybe more. On second thought, the restaurant section was virtually empty and the tiny slice section was buzzing with activity. On this level, he has suceeded in being the best neighborhood slice joint around. Each slice costs but $1.50.

Its such a shame that he has clearly choosen to go in this direction. I say choosen because he knows his market and he is making bucks by catering to the slice crowd. But then again, as I looked around at the neighborhood, it was clear he made the correct decision. He is not in a "pie" type location. He understands this very well.

I also have to question if Jose has any dedication to keep going what Patsy's used to be. Again, I think he choose to abandon the traditional course and take his restaurant in an entirely different direction. His neighborhood is entirely different than when Patsy's first opened as well so maybe it's just smart business. After eating Jose's Margherita, it dawned on me that he didn't get what a Margherita is supposed to be. He had no reference point. He couldn't of based on the ingredient choices he made. But contrast the Margherita to the slices he was shoveling out the door every few seconds and it all began to make sense. He knows how to make plain cheese slices and keep his client base entirely happy. I don't think he serves many Margherita pies anymore. I'm certain they are the exception. But man does he pump out those plain cheese slices.

I have shed a tear because I now know I will never go back to the place where I spent a portion of my childhood. I want to but I can't. It simply doesn't exist anymore. To test my theory of his intentional shift to being a slice joint, I ordered two plain slices to go.

It reminded me of the magical moment some 35 years ago when my Grandfather brought me to the same place in Harlem where they had the best pizza pies - according to him. Though the neighborhood was getting run down. It was an adventure just to get there. I couldn't believe how good the pies were back then. The best I ever had.

Now fast forward to the slices. The neighborhood isn't much better but the slices - they were fabulous. The best I ever had...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 27, 2005, 11:05:56 PM
Hey,

Boy, I was also very sad reading your post. I don't know the names of any of the guys there, but I can tell you that I always saw the same spanish guy cooking my pies from 1997-2003. They were fabulous. The three trips I took in 2004 were a different spanish guy and were not good. I don't know who this guy is that was there since 1976. I just don't know so I can't comment. If you post a photo I'll know.  I can say that when I first started going there the place was practically empty and has gradually increased in volume after the renovation.  So I thought they were doing better. If they were going to water down the pies, I'm surpised they chose now, rather than 7 years ago. 

I just don't know. It's a shame.

As I've said before, the dough I bought a few years back was unrippable. It was completely incredible. The bubbles, the window paning. Like I said, I don't think it would be any problem to stretch that dough to 30" and I'm not exaggerating. I have strectched my own balls, of about the same weight to 25" and this was way, way way better than mine.  There's something in the mixing where all of a sudden it crosses a point and can just stretch and stretch to be so paper thin that you can lay it over a whole sheet of paper and read it right through the dough. You can stretch it like phyllo.  Patsy's was like that.  When I saw him stretching the dough it would only take 2 or 3 turns to make a perfectly round pie. No coaxing necessary.

I wonder what lessons we can take from your report though, since the pie is not that good anymore. Did he say that he always used oil and sugar in the dough, even back in the day? Did you ask about the starter? or resuing yesterday's dough or anything like that?

It's a real shame.

FYI, there is a taxi place next door to Patsy's. You can walk in there and get a cheaper taxi. Any chance of making it to  Johnny's Pizzeria? 30 W Lincoln Ave. Mount Vernon, NY,  (914) 668-1957  They might be closed Mondays.



Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on March 28, 2005, 12:28:53 AM
I can't believe the best pizza in NY has changed it's recipe.  I was starting to feel like I was totally crazy, or had really bad taste.  Unfortunately about a month and a half ago was the first time I had a chance to try Patsy's.  Although it is sad to say this, I am actually relieved to know that what I had was not the real thing.  I kept reading on this forum that Patsy's was superior to Grimaldi's. I had their pies within two hours of each other and I just couldn't figure out why I disagreed with so many of you incredibly knowledgeable people.  Patsy's seemed so middle of the road to me.  Thank God the world has you Pizzafreaks (I mean this in the most affectionate way possible) to unlock the secrets of what Patsy's was doing, and carry on the torch so that this pizza is not lost forever.  Thank God Jeff was able to keep those cultures alive from his original Patsy's dough ball.  Now that Patsy's magic is probably gone forever, who's dough is closest to what Patsy's once was?  I am just looking for a reference point for when I try the Patsy's clone recipe here at home.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on March 28, 2005, 12:48:36 AM
I just reread the original post, and I guess the other Patsy's location would probably be the closest crust.  How much different is it than the Harlem location?  It would make sense to me that if one location switched ingredients, the other would as well.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 28, 2005, 06:56:25 AM
Last night was very sad for me personally. I had to accept the loss of one of the reasons why I'm in this hobby. To try and put the bad memory out of my mind I headed to Una Pizza Napoletana. I thought Anthony's attention to detail and his dedication to preserving ancient methods would soothe the wound - only to find that it was closed - despite the answering machine message to the contrary. You would think he would have updated his machine to reflect Easter Sunday. Oh well.

So to try and salvage something from a day which was becoming increasing worse by the minute I wanted to head to Di Faras. But the limo driver, who felt my pain, but just didn't want to have to share in the cost of it, politely told me that it would be another $35 to drive all the way to Midwood. At this point I caved in and said to take me home. I had enough. As we proceeded back to the hotel I noticed we were getting somewhat close to the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd. I asked to be dropped there and decided to dive into what I call a safe pizza. A safe pizza is one where it is consistently good no matter when you go there. And did I ever need safe comfort food at this point. 

I ordered up my normal Margherita and when it arrived I began snapping pictures of the gas oven pie. Now understand that this Patsy's is one of the mini chain and the only one without a coal oven. So the normal charring isn't there but the Patsy's formula is. The manager on duty wondered over to me to find out why I was taking pictures of a pizza - a very strange thing to do in his mind. Well after a few minutes of explaining that I am not trying to rip him off somehow, we settled into a very enjoyable discussion about my favorite topic.

He confirmed many things, most of which I already knew but some I didn't. They do not use oil or sugar in their formula. They do not use Gold Metal flour (as the East Harlem location does). They must use the "original" Patsy's formula as per their agreement to license the name. They do use a cold rise. And last but not least, they do not use a starter of any kind. The manager knows the formula very well and I would say that while I'm not prepared to disclose this apparent trade secret, ilpizzaiolo was right on the mark.

I pressed Jose at the East Harlem location pretty hard on the concept of starters and he looked at me quite puzzled. He told me he uses fresh yeast in a block. That's the same thing they use at the mini chain Patsy's. As far as I'm concerned, the case is closed on starters. They do not use one of any kind.

The greek owned mini chain has apparently changed oils at a minimum. They are now using a greek oil, fancy that. Seems that no one really pays that much attention to ingredient detail anymore. I doubt the licensing deal requires usage of a specific ingredient list. How could it from a practical standpoint.

So in the end I would have to say that the other Patsy locations around Manhatten would have the closest approximation to what I fondly remember as a true coal oven pie. They have to use the same formula but they probably do not use the same ingredients.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on March 28, 2005, 07:13:41 AM
pft amazing..your travels have uncovered new territory good and bad...your description and article about your travels revealed new things so all is not lost. I do think that more than not most places to not use starters. They may however use a pre ferment or old dough to help flavor along with the fresh block yeast. All these things affect taste etc.. I remember a place I used to frequent ...italian family owned. I got his son to take me in the back. I saw some of his ingrediants. The flour he used etc... I commented about how the last pie I had was amazing with flavor. I asked why, his son replied that it was old dough he had used and it had matured...they would put their dough on sheet trays and cover them with what looked like something of a shower cap BUT it looked like some sort of cheese skin some thing not manmade I really don't know what this covering was but I'm sure it imparted flavor.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 28, 2005, 07:38:08 AM
I may have given the impression that the original Patsy's and even the mini chain Patsy's have changed their formula. I do not think that is the case. I want to be clear on that point. I firmly believe that both both the original and the mini chain locations have changed ingredients - for the worse. I still believe they use the same formula though. Jose may have added oil and sugar as he indicated.

Jose at the original location thinks he pizza is the best because of the ancient oven. He doesn't seem to place a lot of emphasis on ingredients. None of his ingredients are considered unique, expensive, or authentic Italian for that matter. His oven makes up for a lot of ingredient sins though. He sells one hell of a plain cheese slice - just not a great fresh mutz Margherita pie anymore. It is no longer a destination pizzeria for that very reason. It is the very best street pizza slice joint in NYC. I'm convinced of that. Not in the way Di Fara's is though. Dom uses ingredients to make up for his lack of oven superiority. Jose uses his oven to make up for his lack of quality ingredients. That's it in a nutshell. Just imagine being able to buy a slice that just came out of a coal oven. That's an advantage that all the other slice joints in the city, to my knowledge, do not have. Jose has a monopoly.

The mini chain Patsy's produce a wonderful looking 16" Pie. It measured 16" exactly and it was perfectly round. It just wasn't the product of a true pizzaiolo. They have cut back on the ingredient quality level as well and they do not have the heritage of Patsy's to guide them through the pizza jungle. It is as if they are clinging to a formula and don't know why. They act as if they "have" to stick to the Patsy's formula instead of "wanting" to use it. Things can only get worse because the ownership group is comprised of business men. They cannot diagnose customer complaints as to why a pizza is soggy or why it is too charred. They simply don't know and what's even worse is they just don't care. That is the job of the pizza maker. I'm crying on this pivotal point.

A coal oven can only make up for so much. Caring is not something a coal oven can mask...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on March 28, 2005, 08:51:15 AM
I'm a bit confused.  Are we talking about Patsy's on 117th/118th street?  If so, Jose was throwing you a fast one since he's not the owner.   I'm sure he was right on the ingredients though - although Gold Medal was not the flour I had seen in the kitchen.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 28, 2005, 09:01:37 AM
Arthur,
I may have assumed that Jose owned Patsy's because I have been told that the wife of Patsy sold out to the employee(s). Since Jose has been there since 1976, it makes sense that he is at least part of that group. That coupled with the fact that his kids work there is usually a good indication of at least partial ownership.

If he doesn't own it who does?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on March 28, 2005, 09:18:11 AM
I met Frank - who also claimed he was the owner and that he was related to the picture of the guy on the wall - via marriage.  He was able to order me an extra pie on the house to see what I thought.  So my assumption was that he was the owner.  Now granted Jose may have been more open about the ingredients.  In any case, I had only been there once and was impressed - but I didn't have the experience like you to know if it was not as good as the past.  I was not wow-ed by the dough, but I was however impressed with the sauce - which the owner said was a trade secret.  The dough he said "anyone could make - no big deal".  And I did love the fresh mozz which they make there.  I need to make my own now  :P


also, my pies weren't swimming in sauce.  Maybe I had a different pizzaiolo that night.


BTW, I know everyone gets on me for my "atmosphere is part of great pizza" comment, but one thing I love about Patsy's is that in the sitdown area (where you order pies), there is almost nothing on the wall in this big room (something out of Godfather where michael shoots the police captain and Turk) ...there's nothing except a 2 foot picture of the original owner and a 6 foot! picture of Frank Sinatra.  You gotta love it!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 28, 2005, 09:31:11 AM
Arthur,
Thanks for clearing that up. Maybe they both own a share of Patsy's - who knows it's not that big of a deal. But it makes sense that a relative would at least own a share, even if it is by marriage.

What I find interesting is the similarity of ingredient positions by Frank and Jose. They really don't think their dough is special do they? I got the sense that their ingredients in general were not the "show." It was clearly the oven. Jose told me their sauce is based on canned tomatoes. He indicated it was how they prepared the canned tomatoes that mattered but that there was nothing special about the crushed tomatoes. Anyone could buy them.

Do they actually use oil and sugar which would be a huge change to the original Patsy's formula? I don't truly know. I don't think that Jose was lying about it, he appeared to genuinely enjoy our discussion. But something has changed with the dough. Maybe it was just a flour manufacturer change at first and then morphed into adding oil and sugar as a way to stop the tearing. Your guess is as good as mine.

One more note about the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd. Their crust is completely different from the original's now. It is more true to the formula in my opinion.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on March 28, 2005, 09:41:33 AM
I feel pretty confident that they use oil and probably a bit of sugar.  My guess is that the tearing is due to the lack of time in the fridge.  They try to get 24 hours, but in a busy week they probably only get a few hours and thus they get some tearing.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 28, 2005, 10:45:30 PM
Well, I just don't know what to think anymore. I know that the 2 cultures I had from Johnny's and Patsy's smelled totally different and continued to have distinct odors through many feedings, until the Johnny's was taken over. I know that the Patsy's immediately began breeding and has continued very active for years, and fresh yeast will not do that. So I just don't know anymore.

I'm very disappointed.  I wish the Johnny's guys were more forthcoming about their recipe.  Do you still want me to send the culture or are you going to stay with fresh yeast? Tomorrow was actually a good day for me to finally get this out to you.

Since the 34th street location uses no oil and the 117th does, I tend to believe that the oil is a recent addition to stop the tears. The silly thing about the reduction in quality is that wholesale the difference between Gold Metal and a higher quality flour is so nominal.  A 12 oz ball has less that 8 oz of flour. Sir Lancelot  is like 35 cents per half pound retail.  What are they saving here?  A dime a pizza? Most of the money is in the cheese.

Ugh!!!


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 28, 2005, 11:07:29 PM
Varasano,
Please send the starter. I believe it adds flavor. I want to experiment as much as possible. The Patsy's location I will hit next time I'm in NYC will be the one at 318 West 23rd street in Chelsea. It's located only a few blocks from the one at 34th & 3rd. It has a coal oven and from what the manager told me last night, it makes the best pies of the chain.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 28, 2005, 11:43:18 PM
Ok, I should get to it tomorrow.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 31, 2005, 02:15:25 PM
Here are the pictures of my experience at Patsy's in East Harlem...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 31, 2005, 02:16:59 PM
Note descriptions at bottom of pictures...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 31, 2005, 02:19:06 PM
More...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 31, 2005, 02:20:41 PM
Jose often stretched two skins at once by stacking one on top of the other. The pictures of the Margherita pizza are from the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on March 31, 2005, 03:47:22 PM
PFT - Thank you!

Those pictures were amazing!

A couple of comments on the harlem location...

- I liked the the fresh mozz better than the other mozz - did you?  I actually just received my fresh mozz kit in the mail yesterday so this weekend is cheese making weekend.
- I guess I thought the picture of frank sinatra was 6 feet, but I suppose it's only 3-4 feet :)
- my pie/slice wasn't as droopy - I don't think it had as much sauce.  That's why pizza is such a hard thing to master - at least the consistency.
- it's amazing how different the pies look between harlem and 34th street.  I haven't eaten at the 34th street place, but I assume you liked the original better?

again...those are great pictures!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 31, 2005, 08:43:04 PM
Arthur,
The fresh mutz margherita pie I had tasted better than the plain cheese pie but it was not what I would consider a great pie. Any pie that has as much droop as the one I was served is unacceptable. If you look closely at the photos below you may see the gaping hole in the pie. The hole allowed a steady stream of sauce to leak through to the pan and ruin the rest of the pie and unfortunately the magic of the moment for me. Perhaps I was unlucky. But here is the point, what pizzaiolo would allow a skin with three patched holes to be served? Especially to a guy with a camera!

I did consider the slices great for $1.50. Jose seems to be better at making a great plain cheese pie designed for by-the-slice consumption. One note about the oven. I had always thought that coal ovens had a seperate chamber for the coal but Patsy's oven operates more like a wood burning oven since the coals are in the same space as the pies. The roof of the oven appeared to have little if any slope though.

The pies made at 34th & 3rd are more authentic to the Patsy's formula in my opinion. Their problem is the gas oven. That's why I recommended the location on 23rd street. The adherence to the original Patsy's formula with a coal oven could be unbeatable in my opinion.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 01, 2005, 09:48:21 AM
Arthur,
One other point about the preparation differences between the original Patsy's and the location on 34th street. The original put the sauce down first, the 34th street location put the cheese down first. This seemingly small difference in approach led to huge differences in lightness of crust.

The 34th street location used much less sauce because it was spread around the cheese not under it or on top of it. It made the crust much lighter as a result. The sauce and cheese were also different. I believe the quality of ingredients at the 34th street location were considerably higher. Unfortunately, the gas oven is a limiting factor...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on April 01, 2005, 10:51:57 AM
I agree about the issue with the holes although I would have to say that my pie was much "nicer" when I went.

One thing about the oven.  If you notice in your pictures of the oven that there are stones piled up in the back right.  That's kept there to capture the flavor of the oven.  They then use those stones as the base for the oven in the new Patsy's pizza places.   I learned that from the owner.

Also, I have a relative who is secretly getting me cans of patsy's sauce (harlem).  I'll let you know how it turns out.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 01, 2005, 11:20:33 AM
Two additional comments.

First, about the oven. I did not notice the bricks until you pointed them out - good catch Arthur. Also, I believe the oven is considerably hotter than most if not all the other coal oven joints because of the lack of volume. I never witnessed, during the hour or so that I was there more than two pies in the oven at once. It leads me to believe that the floor of the oven has enough time to recover any lost heat easily.

Second,
Pay close attention to the different sizes of dough that Jose has beside him. I think I have figured out his skin forming process:
Step 1 - Take ball from dough tray and place in flour bowl. Dust both sides well. Rest.
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake like shape. A couple of inches thick. Rest with plenty of flour.
Step 3 - Flatten pancake by pressing fingers into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Rest with plenty of flour.
Step 4 - Place hands inside rim and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round. Rest with plenty of flour.
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is off the bench) and stretch to 16".
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into oven
Step 9 - Bake for 2-3 minutes
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 01, 2005, 01:46:36 PM
The use of the string to clear the pizza from the peel is similar to the trick I saw recommended somewhere--but using dental floss.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on April 01, 2005, 02:26:12 PM
PETER:
  Hello again. That secret trick you spoke of with the use of  DENTAL FLOSS could it be to cut cheese cake slices?????.
  Have a nice day my friend.
   ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 01, 2005, 06:42:23 PM
I will read this over the weekend.  This is the guy that I saw years ago (all 3 times in 2004 must have been his day off).  This guy has made some awesome pies for me. But they looked very different than these photos.  He looks like he aged. Maybe he just doesn't give a hoot anymore.

more later

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 02, 2005, 12:53:10 AM
consisency is hard in the pizza business. if the dough is not risen just right the pie will not become crispy. jose is a master pizziola. if you can get him to make you a pie. and talk him into letting it sit for 10 minutes after he cooks it. and get him to put it back in that oven for 1 minute.  you will get a crispy pie. even if the dough is not fully risen. i've seen them use dough they just mixed less than a hour ago. (not good).  i do think jose' is burnt out and is just pushing them out. plus the oven they have is very deep i'm sure i've seen more than 4 pies in it at once. i'm reading too many posts, about secret cultures etc. on dough. yeast can be fickle. it's not allways so easy to get a good block of yeast. i've seen everything from very crumply yeast to yeast that looked like mud. the age of the yeast will mAke it smell different and affect the quailty of the dough. after you mix the dough and start rolling it . most times you can feel how good it will be for the next day. a real good pizza man will know just how  much dough to take out every few hours. and how long it will take to rise correctly.  o good way to test a pizziola skill in managing dough.  is to try a slice of sicilian. it should be about 2 inches thick . and light as air. not the least bit of doughy taste.  also look at the pictures of jose' s forarms. notice all the burns. a pizzaman allways has burns on the arms.  john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 05:16:19 AM
quidoPizza,
Your comments and insight are proving to be invaluable.

Interesting about Jose's status. There is no doubt he is a master. Maybe the day I was there, Easter Sunday, he wanted to be with his family at home. He was such a kind and gentle man but I could see he wasn't entirely happy. I just didn't know why. Thanks for the clarification. I also find it interesting that Jose has been at Patsy's since 1976 and does not have a little share of the business. That's a long time to be pulling a paycheck without creating a little wealth along the way.

The pie Jose served me was tasty but contained the serious flaws I outlined - too much sauce, limp crust, hole in the bottom, and rather small (less than 15"). In fact, it was the best tasting pie I ate while I was in NY. The thing is, Jose has so much potential to make a pie that could blow every other pizza joint away. He currently isn't coming close to that potential. That is what is so alarming to me. Why waste all that talent on putting out good pies when you have within your grasp the chance to offer the very best?

I still have some questions about brands and ingredients. Thanks for sharing with us on who exactly Sassone is. One question I have for you is the basic ingredient list for the dough. You mentioned about adding oil. Does Jose incorporate oil? I ask this because I am under the impression that Patsy's use to use only flour, water, salt, and yeast. However, Jose mentioned to me he also uses a little bit of oil and sugar. Knowing Jose as well as you do, do you think he was pulling my leg? While on the topic of dough, could you share the dough recipe you used and/or the one Patsy's is currently using. Weights or percentages, doesn't matter. Earlier in this thread we have posted one we believe Jose may be using but his comments about oil and sugar have thrown us off a little bit.

After watching Jose stretch the skins I wonder how he gets his dough to be so elastic. He uses such a small ball the dough is stretched like a balloon by the time he is through stretching. Any light you could shed on this topic area would be immensely appreciated. I think I am using the same cold rise Jose is but I am not getting the snappy, elastic feel to the dough so something is not right.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 06:45:21 AM
I thought it might be beneficial to summarize our efforts, and best thinking, to replicate an authentic Patsy's pizza at home. Just so everyone doesn't have to sort through 7 pages of posts here is a recap of the formula, mixing process, stretching process, known challenges, and a pictorial of the end result. I am still open to collaboration on any or all of the steps, ingredients, process, etc. Jump in and help!

Patsy's Formula

16    oz High Gluten Flour      100%      
9.6   oz Water                         60%      
.16   oz Yeast                            1%
.32   oz Salt                               2%
Note: The Patsy's formula calls for fresh block yeast. Since fresh yeast is problematic in a home setting, IDY has been substituted.

Optional Ingredients
2.0 Tablespoons of starter (if utilized, cut back on yeast by at least 50%)
1/2   teaspoon oil (oil is not yet verified to be an actual ingredient used by Patsy's yet. The original Patsy's claim they use some, and oddly, the mini-chain Patsy's claim they adhere to the original formula which does not. I get slightly better results by adding this tiny bit of oil - you may too). Use of sugar is still not finalized. The original location claims they use some, the mini-chain does not.

Who can help here? Logic tells us they shouldn't use any oil or sugar as the roots of the Patsy's formula are seated in the Lombardi formula which came from Naples Italy where oil and sugar are not used. Help!

Produces enough dough for two 15" - 16" pizzas

Dough Preparation Sequence
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and starter (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute with hook attachment. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Mix on stir speed for 10 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually (add optional oil at 5 minute mark). Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, drop dough into bowls, cover with shower caps or plastic wrap. I use no oil to coat the balls and have not noticed a problem removing balls from stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24 hours. On the following day, remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approximately 60 - 120 minutes).

Dough Stretching Sequence
To get light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature prior to baking. Following is the exact process Patsy's uses at the original location in East Harlem:
Step 1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Dust well
Step 3 - Flatten pancake further by pressing 8 fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Keep dusted with flour
Step 4 - Place hands palm down inside rim (as if patting with open hand) and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress with favorite toppings
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking (Patsy's uses baker's string)
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into oven
Step 9 - Bake until lightly charred in pre-heated (for 1 hr) oven set at  highest temp on pizza stone
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 02, 2005, 09:31:55 AM
pft,

What is the form of yeast in your recipe?

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 09:45:21 AM
pete-zza,
Thanks for pointing out the gap. I need to clarify the yeast issue. I'll go back and modify the listing to specify IDY. Patsy's, however, uses fresh yeast which would need to be mixed differently.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 02, 2005, 10:45:04 AM
pft,

Thanks for the clarification on the yeast.

For the benefit of those who do not have any scales or a digital scale or a Frieling scale, I estimate that the volumetric measurements of your recipe to be as follows:

Flour (high-gluten, KASL), 3 1/2 c. +2 T. + 1 t.
Water, a bit under 1 1/4 c. (it's about 1 1/6 c. if the 8.33 conversion factor is used)
Salt, 1 5/8 t.
IDY yeast, 1 1/2 t.

Do those quantities sound right? Of course, when using any volume measurements it may become necessary to tweak the flour and water a bit to get the right consistency for the finished dough. (For the volume of flour given above, I weighed 16 oz. of flour on my digital scale, and then scooped it into measuring cups and measuring spoons using a simple kitchen tablespoon, and leveled with a straight edge--I suggest that the same technique be used to scoop flour from a flour bag into measuring cups and spoons.)

If the above information is correct, the weight of the dough ball from your recipe should be a bit over 26 oz., or approximately 13 oz. for each of the two smaller dough balls. For a skin size of 15-16 inches, the thickness factor (TF) comes to around 0.07 for the 15-inch size and 0.065 for the 16-inch size.

If I am incorrect in anything specified above, please let me know and I can come back to this post and correct any errors.

Peter

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 12:38:43 PM
Pete-zza,
We have some pretty big gaps. Not sure why actually. Well, yes I probably do on the salt and the water - it's the difference between our digital scales. The Frieling accu balance scale is brutally accurate - though limited. I end up having to measure the water twice. First I measure for 6oz then 3.6 to toal 9.6. That process yielded a 9 fluid oz measure.

I just finished making another batch and my measurements will be different from yours because I incorporated a starter which cut down on the commercial yeast. That's understandable. But why are we so different on flour and salt. Here are the facts:
KASL Flour:            about 3 cups (I shook the large Pyrex cup a few times to settle the flour)
Sicilian Sea Salt:    2 1/4 t (measured w/Frieling & painstakingly funneled onto t measuring spoons)
Varasano Starter:  2 heaping T
IDY:                       1/4 t (1/2 of 1/2 t measuring spoon)
Oil:                        1/2 t (1 full 1/2 t measuring spoon)
Water:                  9.0 liquid oz (the meniscus was located at the center point on the Pyrex line)

I decided to photograph the mixing process. Here are the descriptions
1) Mixture after 1 minute on stir with hook attachment (50% of flour & all the water)
2) Taken after 10 minutes of mixing all ingredients & 20 minute rest period
3) Measuring ball temperature (stable 80.9 degrees) at hook after machine mix
4) Taken after 2nd rest period of 15 minutes
5) 2 minute hand kneading process
6) Weight of large ball - 28.1oz
7) Splitting of dough into equal balls
8) Ball #1 weighs 14oz
9) Ball #2 weighs 14oz
10) Dough balls placed in stainless bowls w/o oil
11) Dough balls covered with shower caps (a Pete-zza tip!)


Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 12:40:13 PM
Photos 6-11...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 02, 2005, 01:53:26 PM
patsy's is well known for holes' in his pies.   an old joke in the pizza business. either slice out the hole and sell the rest of the pie in slices, or call out to the customers " is anyone religious here" if some one says yes,  you say the lord has prepared a special holy slice for you. and you give it to them for free!!!!!!!! everyone laughs, and all become holy real fast... the reasons you get holes. starts with the way you roll the dough into a ball( dead -air pockets.)  second he's using the least amount of dough possable to get a 16 inch pie (very thin). if you took a good look at patsy's oven , the stones are small and not level. this causes holes when you try to peal the pie out .  sounds like you have a some good basic recipies on dough. the trick is to get the right texture. and understanding when the dough has risen enough. by the way if your pies taste half as good as they look you got something going. ;D  john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 02:24:13 PM
quidoPizza,
I seem to learn something new every time you post a message. It is a very enjoyable experience. Don't plan on leaving anytime soon. Love the explanation on holes. That's taking a disadvantage and turning it into an advantage in a hurry. Good will is instantly built.

An example of Jose's good will was when I opened the box of raw dough expecting to see the dough ball I purchased for $3.00 and wouldn't you know it, he snuck an extra ball in there. The next day I had my dinner bought for me by the manager of the Patsy's at 34th and 3rd simply because he enjoyed our conversation. He topped it off with a cannoli. You should have seen my grin. I have yet to meet bad people in this business or hobby.

Your compliment on my humble looking pies is greatly appreciated. I have tried very hard to balance the art and science of pizza-making. I have come to the conclusion that you need both in equal amounts. An oven or grill to get you in the extreme heat range of 800 degrees is also a must.

My recent pictures clearly show a gradual improvement and I literally owe the membership here a big thank you because 6 months ago I was drifting along knowing there's a better way but not being able to get out of my own way.

Regarding your question about taste. As you know, there is only one way to really know. Come on down to Tampa!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 02, 2005, 02:34:42 PM
pftaylor: i'm trying to understand what you are using for an oven?  are you using an open grill with a stone on top? there was just too much reading on this thread . for me. are you mixing your dough in a table top home mixer? if you are fairly happy with the dough you are using. i would say work on the tomatoes  patsy's sauce is very plain. get your self a can of peeled italian tomotes  try an italian store to make sure your getting something good. in a frying pan heat about 6oz's of virgin olive oil slice 3 cloves of fresh garlic paper thin. fry till golden brown. add a pinch of red crushed pepper. take the whole tomatoes out of the can crush in your hand . cook for about 15 minutes on med to high flame. add salt, black pepper, oregano and about 10 leaves of fresh basil chopped. add some more olive oil. and mix.  this is one of the best gravies you can use for pizza or pasta and is very honestneopolitian style.  cool and use.   i was thinking i used to know this guy that had old style coal kitchen ovens in his house.  if you could find one of these relics. and put it in your house. and add a 2 inch stone to the oven area. i think you could get that coal flavor. coal can be bought in 50lb bag's. plus jose' had told be about different types of coal before. and how they burn. sulfur etc. but i can't remember the details.   john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 02:48:17 PM
quidoPizza,
I use a TEC grill to bake my pies. But the hood is not open, it is closed - except for the time I open the hood to peel the pies on and off the tiles. I realize that the grill is not perfect but it is good enough for now. Two kids in private school will do that to you.

I have given significant thought to building a wood burning oven on my pool deck. After inspecting Patsy's coal oven I think it is really laid out like a wood burning model. I had always thought coal ovens had a seperate chamber for the coal. Patsy's does not. The pizza is in the same space as the coals.

You have hit the nail on the head with your sauce recommendation. It is the last significant hurdle I have to navigate. Do you know for a fact that Patsy's cooks their sauce? It looked pretty raw - most likely crushed tomatoes. I will go to the Italian market in St. Pete and buy some San Marzano DOP tomatoes and try your recipe out.

Also, I do use a table top mixer. It is the Artisan model by Kitchen-Aid.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 02, 2005, 05:27:08 PM
pftaylor; pasty's don't cook thier sauce. i only know one pizzaria that cook thier sauce. it in the bronx called louie's and earnie's and may be johnny pies in mount vernon. louie and earnie's is real good they use a plain sassone tomatoe with mayby some sassone pizza sause/ but they cook it first. thin crust. lite grande cheese. well done . in a gas fired bakers pride oven . pretty good for no coal. i think your right about coal ovens and wood ovens. as i recall a coal oven does had a chamber for the coal? were is wood is on the top. again this is a old techinolgy. and i sure you can find lot's if info in this on the web. again i would keep my eyes open for a turn of the century coal fired kitchen oven . if your really that serious in this quest.  don't be fooled many pizzeria's that claim they have a wood oven are using gas underneath the stones. and just putting some wood in the top . i don't think there is a substute for coal as far as the taste goes. but there maybe some coal based seasonings you may want to try to add to you dough.? oh how thick are your tiles. i would think you would need at least 1 inch thick. you may try to get intouch with bakers pride , new rochelle new york they may have a nice stone to sell . that fit's in a oven. an other trick is to heat up your stone for close to an hour before cooking..
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 07:10:50 PM
quidoPizza,
I have an associate who's profession is to repair wood, gas, and coal ovens. He has agreed to assist in buidling a real Italian style outdoor pizza oven with me. I probably won't start the project until this winter but my plan is to get it done by next spring.

My better half thinks it will increase resale value so she is behind it as well. That's the good news. Bad news is when you have high spousal approval factor - you better make it right. So the clock is ticking.

I realize that until I can control the heat necessary to properly cook pizzas, the way a real outdoor pizza oven would, I can only climb but so high on the scale of pizza greatness. I am in this game to win and I need the best oven I can afford to do so.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 02, 2005, 07:41:14 PM
Hey Pete,

I still haven't really read through all these posts.  This is a crazy idea I've tossed around but never tried. Taking just 1 piece of coal and putting it in a cast iron pan in the oven under the stone.  I don't want to smoke up my kitchen and I'm not sure the heat alone will pass kindling and ignite it. But it's an idea. I've got no back yard possibilites, not unless I move.


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 02, 2005, 08:07:56 PM
quidoPizza,
You mentioned in one of your responses that you were going to talk to Jose soon. Let him know how much I enjoyed my visit. If you are able to confirm the use of oil and sugar that would be a big help. Also, any insight into the elasticity issue is better than nothing. I have never seen a dough stretch like that before. Jose is doing something different from others.

Varasano,
Nice idea. You could use your trash bag over the smoke alarm solution you offered up to someone here a little while ago.

Great minds must think alike. I have been wondering if I could simply place a chunk of coal on either side of my tile configuration and light it up. I considered buying regular charcoal to get a feel if its possible. I will let you know my progress.

By the way, I made my first dough with your starter today. Tomorrow is the first true taste test. Also, the dough I bought from Jose at the original Patsy's smelled just like your starter - after 3 days in the plastic zip-lock bag I brought along. Up until that point I could not detect any noticeable fermentation odor. When I recieved your starter yesterday it was an identical scent to the 3 day old Patsy's. I can assure you that your starter has not been taken over as a result of the comparison.

I will leave the implication of my observation to others who understand starters better than I.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on April 02, 2005, 09:35:06 PM
pftaylor; pasty's don't cook thier sauce.

quidoPizza,

My sister is picking up some cans for me from Sassone this week since she lives in the bronx.  Any more info on the sauce besides no cooking and adding salt.  Do they just puree it or squeze by hand?  Do they add anything else? to thicken it?

Thanks in advance,
Arthur.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 02, 2005, 11:54:11 PM
FYI: I grew up in Co-op City in the Bronx.  Lived there 20 years. But I'm in Atlanta now.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 03, 2005, 12:00:28 AM
Random Notes:
 
You can tell just from looking at the sauce that it's not precooked. It looks like just crushed tomatoes to me. Maybe a bit of salt or a dash of oregano, but very little.
 
But these pies are very watery. I've not seen that at Patsy's
 
The edge crust looks terrible and overall the pie looks like it has no spring and is too burnt and droopy.
 
I've never had a patsy's pie with holes like that. Jose looks ready to retire.
 
I don't think I've ever seen an NYC pizza place which put fresh mozz down first, then the sauce on top. It's always sauce then cheese. Johnny's used dry sliced mozz and they put that down first.  Most NYC places use sauce, then grated dry mozz.
 
The 34th street pie looks very lame. I wouldn't pursue it.

Did you ask Jose if he mixes in some of yesterday's dough into today's batch, or anything like that?

When mixing fresh flour and water into the starter, just always use a fresh fork that's been cleaned in a hot dishwasher.  Never have a fork go from one container to another. Don't leave the top exposed. These are the only things I do and I've not had a problem. Steve had multiple starters from sourdo.com, so I think he may have risked contamination.  Just use basic care and it will be fine.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 06:42:43 AM
Varasano,
I placed the Patsy's starter in a plastic container with a small hole bored in the lid. Did I get that right? I thought I was supposed to let it breathe a little. The starter Steve sent me is quaranteened in a seperate refrigerator in my garage. The two have not gotten close to each other. Let me know.

I inquired as to every imaginable type of starter usage - wet, dry, semi-dry, old dough, new dough, poolish, biga, preferment, levian - you name it, I questioned it. It would make sense that their recipe is enhanced with old dough somehow. Perhaps quidoPizza can weigh in on this point. He knows Jose personally and professionally and is going to speak with him in the near future so maybe he can help.

Jose either would steal us both blind in a poker game or he was telling me the God's honest truth. He does not use a starter of any kind. I am of the notion that the fresh yeast they use may have a bit more flavor than other commercial yeast. Sounds plausable but I'm still guessing on that and my first rule in life is never guess. So I'll leave the yeast strain stuff to you guys with the experience.

Regarding how cheese is laid down on a pie, I think (but I'm not entirely sure - there's that damn guessing thing again) back in the day Patsy's put it down first. I know for a fact Grimaldi's puts it down first along with the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd. The original Patsy's formula, according to the manager of the store at 34th, suggested to lay the cheese down first. Again, maybe quidoPizza can clarify. I agree that the 34th & 3rd location offers nothing more than utility quality pizza. I will not rule out, however, the Patsy's location on 23rd due to its usage of the original Patsy's formula and the coal oven. If they have a dedicated pizzaiolo there that would be the cat's meow.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 03, 2005, 11:11:56 AM
Well, I'm baffled about the starter. I guess one possibility is that the culture is natural to the habitat. I've kept mine for years and as you said, it smelled just like the patsy's dough did after several days, so  the yeast is in there for sure.  But, if it's yeast that is naturally occuring in the environment and gets into the dough, it probably does so in such small quantities that it would not affect the flavor of a 1 day old dough.   Rather, it's just in there and as we culture the dough, the fresh yeast dies off and the culture takes over and that's what I've got.

If this is the case, then using the starter is kind of useless if the goal is pure reproduction.  Clearly, the culture does add flavor, but at the quantities that would get into a dough this way it would take a few days to have much of an impact.  I use a dough that's 40% starter, just as Ed Wood suggests.  Marco has it at 1-3%.  If it's environemental at Patsy's, it's way less than 1%.  With a long cold rise the initial quantity might not matter too much - the yeast doubles every few hours if it's got plenty of food, so in a few days it would catch up.  But a 1 day rise seems too short for it to contribute much. 

But on the flip side, maybe a tiny, tiny quantity does impact it in some way. Let me mention something, and I'd love Marco or someone else to comment on it too.  Have you ever noticed that the FLAVOR of these doughs from all of these pizza places varies so much. It's not just the texture.  If they are all using the same 4-6 ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast and maybe sugar and oil), where is that variety of flavor coming from. I don't buy the water argument. All NYC water comes from the same reservoir so Patsy's and Lombardi's use the same water.  (FYI, NYC water has gone way, way way down hill in the last 10-15 years and is now heavily chlorinated compared to what it was when I was kid).  Even if fresh yeast had much flavor, which it doesn't, how about the variety of flavors. Why does lombardi's dough taste TOTALLY different from Johnny's, from Patsy's from Sally's. These doughs are all wildly different. And why does the place across the street from Johnny's, which has a very mediocre dough, in terms of spring and char, etc. still have the exact same underlying flavor.  The cooking method could contribute some, but Lombardi's and Patsy's ovens are nearly identical. And coal is coal - I don't think one is using a gourmet brand of coal.

I do know that my pizza had an overall huge jump in quality when I started using the culture.  But, as I've always said, the TECHNIQUE and not the ingredients is the biggest factor.  I don't think that the type of flour is that critical, for example. I've made some really GREAT pies with All purpose and some pretty crappy pies with all kinds of flour.  The only ingredient that I thought had any special purpose was the culture. But even then, you can easily make a crappy pie.  It's still in the technique. 

Overall, I'm baffled. I wish I had the time to do all these experiments, but I'm launching my product this month (after 4 years of work) and the pizza is a big way I procrastinate.  Check me out in my non-pizza life:

http://interface.audiovideoweb.com/lnk/ny60win16116/Pub_Think2020_v1.wmv/play.asx

How come we saw photos of your wife but none of you Pete? 

Ciao,

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 03, 2005, 11:20:30 AM
I don't have an air hole in my yeast containers. In fact, I had a container in the fridge completely sealed and unfed for a solid year. It looked black and gross, smelled REALLY great and came back to life in just 2 days of feeding.  Yeast does not need air. Wine ferments in sealed barrels, for example.

I don't want to contaminate my sample, so I keep it sealed. Other organisms get into it when it's fed, but Ed Wood explains how samples remain pure because a strong sample can usually fend off small quanities of outsiders.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 11:28:50 AM
Varasano,
The picture of the gal holding the pie at Patsy's was the server. I need a "lot" more credit than that.

I'll seal off the starter based on your recommendation.

Nice video by the way. I'm in the technology services industry so I can appreciate your approach. I deal with Fortune 100 clients all day long who have tried to climb the Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft mountain multiple times and they have spent hundreds of millions trying to get there. The ROI is simply not there.

My picture is on the Di Fara reverse engineering thread. I'm the big guy standing next to Dom. I could talk forever and a day about why different joints taste different. I'll limit my perspective to Patsy's with the following rank order:
1) The coal oven - 50% weighting. Even more when you compare against gas oven joints.
In my opinion, it was originally designed for wood. There is no seperate chamber for the coal. A dead giveaway. That means quite possibly Patsy's has one of the few coal ovens which heats the pie a third way. Direct energy. I believe this is the biggest contributor as to why their pies taste lighter (different) than any other coal oven joint that I've been to. 50% weighting.

2) Pizzaiolo Technique 30%. From beginning to end. It all makes a difference. How long, how much, how soon, etc. It all adds up in the end.

3) Ingredients 20% - Some combinations just seem to elevate the final product and some don't.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 03, 2005, 12:18:35 PM
Lombardi's has no separate chamber for the coal either. The ovens are very similar. When I baked an actual patsy's dough rushed down to my oven, it tasted mediocre.  But my oven technique is much better now.  Technique is half the battle.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 12:22:23 PM
Maybe Lombardi's influenced Patsy to get the same type of oven built. More likely, Patsy "borrowed" what he saw worked.

The entire pizza industry, from what I can tell, has very few original thinkers. Everyone seems to imitate instead of innovate. I can now see why guys like pizzanapoletana get frustrated with American pizza. The operators mostly seem to take a "it's good enough" approach to the art and science aspects and seem to focus much more on paying the bills.

It is really an equal combination of art and science. But I must admit, without the right oven I don't care how much technique you have - it won't matter.

I am quickly becoming a fan of true artisans like ilpizzaiolo, Anthony Mangieri, Chris Bianco, etc. They seem to respect the craft. Making money is a natural result or derivative of what they do. It is not why they make pizza.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 03, 2005, 12:44:08 PM
varasano when did you live in co-op. did you go to truman? i was there 75-79 i'm from sect 5.  arthur i would say he's using crushed tomatoes from, sassone. no pizza sauce straight  a case of tomatoes should be about $22 WHOLE GROUND TOMATOES. AGAIN  i'm quite sure jose is basically only adding salt maybe a little oregano. as far as using starters. the only time a pizzeria will add old dough to the mix. is when the old dough is over risen and not usable for making pies. over risen dough has a way of turning into sourdough. (ever see a dough tray that looks like one big lump of dough)  if jose' was using a starter or generation he would be trimming the edges off the dough after opening. a pie and saving it as a culture.   ft taylor the elestacy of the dough his to do with how much water is in it and the rise time. it's a feel thing and experence. the reason a pizza man opens 4-5 doughs and stackes them . is a thinking ahead idea. he has free time. but he knows he/'s going to get busy. hence being ready. any good pizza man should be able to go from ball of dough to in the oven in less than a minute  .  for home use i would add 1/2 a cup virgin olive oil for flavor. cut down on the water a bit. never use warn water to mix dough. it makes it feel to soft then you add more flour. then the finished product becomes to hard to streach.   plus warm water makes it rise to fast and can kill the dough. john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 01:38:00 PM
quidoPizza,
Another killer post.

Would you mind sharing your background and a little about your pizzeria? Your comments are so on target I'm sure the community would be fascinated to learn.

Okay, so we now know the brand and type of canned tomatoes that Patsy's uses. Good job. I happen to prefer their fresh taste - even though they are not San Marzano. I will try and order a case tomorrow. Thanks.

Also, do we have enough data yet to confirm Jose uses oil? What about sugar? Your help will never go underappreciated.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 03:56:29 PM
What follows are the final pictures in the dough management/stretching process and the resultant pepperoni and Margherita pies which are a quantum leap above and beyond anything I have crafted to date. Two changes were introduced this time. I utilized Varasano's starter for the first time. The quality of the dough was frankly superior to anything I came close too in NYC. I also must credit the dough stretching lesson that Jose from the original Patsy's in East Harlem gave me. The dough just seemed to respond to the method. Here's where I'm at with pizza making at this juncture: The major facets of the entire pizza making process are robust. I no longer have to refabricate entire sections. Thankfully I'm at the "tweak" stage.

Also, there are some pretty apparent "wrinkles" in the dough. I shrunk the dough down to fit. It could have been stretched to 20" easily. However, my grill will not allow much over 15". I can only conclude that a smaller dough ball would be appropriate for a 15" - 16" skin.

Take a look...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 04:07:09 PM
Part 2...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 04:09:31 PM
Part 3...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 04:10:20 PM
Part 4...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 04:16:29 PM
A glimpse of the skin and the cheese. I tried a new cheese brand. The skin was the most competent I have ever stretched. Do you see the big blackened bubbles sticking out of the crust like tumors? No?

Well neither do I because for the first time, there weren't any at all. Zip. Nada, Zilch. Zero. What is going on? Where did they go? I've lived with them so long I thought they were part of the family. There were absolutely no thin spots whatsoever either. Not one. Am I dreaming? I have never had a dough without those worrisome spots before. In conclusion, I am finally satisfied and happy with the dough. Will I tweak the sauce here or there? Maybe. Will I tinker with the dough management/stretching process? Not hardly. Why? It works for me. The crust has all the characteristics I have been driving like a fiend to find. I'm there.

I know I posted a lot of pictures but the process is, well, complicated at best. A picture is worth a thousand words when trying to describe a process. Consider the dough management process complete and finalized. I will not be making any additional changes.

I know you cannot possibly tell from the pictures how these pies tasted. Take my word for it. They were candidly what I had hoped to eat in NYC. Varasano's starter is packed with flavor and when combined with a proven stretching procedure it all kind of came into focus. I have definitely jumped up to a much higher plateau on the mountain.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 03, 2005, 04:53:47 PM
pft, they are some truly nice pies.  nice spring on that crust too.
Someone touched getting the coal oven taste out of your grill.  I really don't see why you couldn't put an old pie tray or cake pan with some hot coals, pre-bake, in your grill.  I was watching tv the other day and i saw a guy take aluminum foil and wrap some damp wood chips in the foil.  he punched holes in the aluninum foil and tossed it under his grates to give his food a smoked flavor.  i thought that was a neat idea and completely applicable for something like you have.  I've even looked into getting a piece of soapstone to fit my grill on my deck and do a little experimenting myself.
I have some day time available to me now that i am no longer working in the pizza shop.  I've been trying to start my own bakery for some time now and my wife and i finally secured a really great old bakery.  Oddly enough, the old man who owns it showed me the picture of him in 1952 baking bread on the coal oven which used to be there.  there is now a revolving oven, which i am replacing with a pavallier deck oven.  Just as a side note, the old man HATED the coal oven:  "those gaddamn ovens are overrated and a pain in the ass" 
Anyway, just thought i'd throw that whole "wood chip in aluminum foil" out there.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 05:06:54 PM
bakerboy,
Nice of you to chime in.

You lead a most interesting life. You really do. I chuckled at your description of how Italians argue. After reading your most recent post, I just felt like I was standing beside you when that old man starting ranting about the coal oven. If he only knew what he got rid of. He probably never baked a pizza pie in there...LOL
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 03, 2005, 06:14:33 PM
I'm seeing somethin come full circle with your pizzas.  The first bakery i ever went to was the one i'm now buying.  The smell and tastes in there changed my life.  that bread was the epitiome of perfect bread.  i tried in vain to recreate that bread...to no avail.  I baked and tried and baked and fermented and on and on.  taking sourdough courses in San Fran, working for next to nothing in artisan bakeries, trying to get my rolls and bread as good as i had remembered.  I had the oppurtunity to retaste the bread of my memory about a year ago...only to find that my bread was MUCH better looking and tasting than the roll from that(and now my) bakery.
I see alot of similarity in what i went through and what you guys are doing on this forum.  i wasn't surprised when some came back from NYC dissapointed.  Why?  Because you guys are making great pizza.  I think alot have held some of these institutions in too high a regard with not enough regard in what you;ve done and accomplished.  Even though i don't know you guys too well, the effort put into your pizzas really shows up in the final product and says alot about you. 
I don't have too much time to post lately but i'm always "checking in" if you will. 
Nice work. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 03, 2005, 06:15:56 PM
I tried bakerboy's trick but using wood pieces instead. I had gotten the idea from using one of those Cameron stovetop smokers, which uses a variety of different woods. I don't remember how I heated up the wood pieces, but I did and I put them in a metal pan in my oven along with a pizza. Before I could sample the results, my smoke alarm system went off. That was the end of that experiment. At least with an outdoor grill, that shouldn't be a problem, either with wood or coal.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Randy on April 03, 2005, 06:44:06 PM
Seems to me you boys should try developing your own pizza style and forget about coping some other guys work.  Pizza is huge, try some of the many different ones out there.

Randy
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 06:52:45 PM
Randy,
I agree. It took my most recent trip to NY to finally open my eyes. I must have been plugged into the matrix or something because I couldn't tell reality from fiction. No more.

I have already developed my own style. Grilled NY Style pie. I think I will call it "Pizza Raquel."
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 03, 2005, 07:42:49 PM
pft,

I went back and looked at a previous exchange we had on this thread on the amounts, by weight and volume, of the ingredients you used most recently to get the results that you deemed exceptional. Unless you already have the weight measurements for the various ingredients, would it be possible for you to note the weights of all the ingredients (other than for the starter) when you make the next successful batch of dough? If you have the baker's percents that would also be helpful, but we should be able to calculate those if we have the actual weight measurements.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 03, 2005, 07:49:57 PM
John, I lived in Section 2 in Bldg 10 (debs place). I had an aunt in section 5.  I was Truman '84. IS 181 before that.

Bakerboy, I know what you mean about being disappointed about the NY trip and I do think that our standards are high.  But something DID happen to Patsy's quality in the last 18 months. It's not a false memory based on rising standards. The dough went from light and airy to downright crackerish the last time few times I was there. It was like night and day. I was there XMas O3 it was great. I was back May of 04 and it was bad. Same for August and Xmas 04.  I think Jose is really phoning it in. He's had a good run, but I think he doesn't care anymore.  I'm pretty close to reproducing the old Patsy's. The last 3 batches of Patsy's were practically right there (aside from my cheese malfunction - you can see by clicking on my site - hit the little globe near my name). But still, a place like Johnny's, which I had over this last Xmas, still blows me away...

pft, I'm thrilled that you liked the starter. I feel like a proud papa :-)  And the blistering on your dough looks REALLY good. Did you autolyse? Do you have a website or ordering info for Sassone?

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 07:57:37 PM
Varasano,
Here you go:
Sassone Wholesale Groceries Co Inc
(718) 792-2828
1706 Bronxdale Ave
Bronx, NY 10462

You and Steve are the only other living human beings who have used the starter. Would you venture a guess that it could have a positive impact on the handling of the dough? Or just the flavor? Perhaps both? It handled like a well trained field dog in hunting season. I used a 20 minute rest period after the first minute of mixing and then a 15 minute rest period at the end of the process.

Pete-zza,
Here are the weights:
16 oz KASL 100% (Weighed on Pelouze scale)
9.6oz Water 60% (Weighed on Frieling scale)
2 Tablespoon Starter (Measured)
1/4 teaspoon IDY (Measured)
1/2 teaspoon OO (Measured)
.32 oz Sicilian Sea Salt 2% (Weighed on Frieling scale)
It all added up to 28.1oz on the Pelouze scale which was split in half for two 15" pizzas.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 03, 2005, 08:08:44 PM
No, the dough handling has to do with the hydration, autolyse and overall knead in my opinion, not so much the starter.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 03, 2005, 08:26:35 PM
V,
The pepperoni pie was an eye opening experience which completely caught me off guard. I had no idea it was coming like a tidal wave. I was not fully prepared.

Even though I had an inkling of potential greatness due to the success of the pepperoni pie, the Margherita was like Raquel Welch in her prime. It had everything a guy could want. I didn't want to go even after I was done. I didn't want the experience to be over. I was literally speechless. It was that good.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on April 04, 2005, 01:02:05 AM
Pft, what brand of sea salt are you using? I have been trying to find Sicilian sea salt, but the Italian sea salt I have found does not say that it is Sicilian. It says "Sale Marino Di Trapani" on it.  It is definitely from Italy.   Does anyone know if this is this the same thing?  I know the brand of salt might seem trivial, but I want to get as close as I can to your dough.  I will try using the sourdo.com starters instead of your cool Patsy's starter. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 04, 2005, 07:24:32 AM
Scott r,
When I went to the Italian market in St. Pete, Mazarros, I was looking for the same thing. I ended up going to the manager and inquiring as to where the Sicilian sea salt was he promised me on the phone (because I wasn't reading about it on the label). He proceeded to tell me the product I was holding was it. It may be the same stuff you mentioned:

Antica Salina
Sale Marino Di Trapani
Iodized White sea salt "Fine" course
Packaged in a white, blue, and orange 26oz cylindrical container

It appears to still be made entirely by hand using ancient phoenician methods. It comes from the saltworks of Trapani and Marsala. Not sure how close they are to Sicily but I'm happy with the performance of the salt. If you are trying to accurately reproduce my approach and the ingredients employed, I would pay close attention to how fine your particular salt is. The product I mentioned above is a very fine grain. I understand that course grain salt doesn't spread as well in the initial mixing process and can lead to uneven dough performance.

Another point about your Raquel reproduction efforts. Try to mimic the dough stretching method I photographed a few posts back as closely as possible. It really did make a significant improvement.

Good luck and let me know how I can help.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 04, 2005, 09:50:09 AM
Scott,

If you do a Google search using "Sicilian sea salt" you will find several online sources for it. If nothing else, you will learn enough to know what to look for if you decide to look for it locally. I know that Salumeria Italiana, which is on Richmond St. in the North End, sells the stuff on its website (http://www.salumeriaitaliana.com/salumeria/wizards/results.cfm).

I was given some Sicilian sea salt as a gift some time ago. Mine is coarse and has dried basil mixed in with it (why I don't know). pft is right that it doesn't work quite as well in dough but it makes a very good seasoning at the table. I sometimes sprinkle a bit of it on a finished Neapolitan style pizza, as I believe is the practice of Anthony Mangieri at Una Pizza Neopolitana in NYC. He also uses the salt in his dough.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on April 04, 2005, 10:40:55 AM
SCOTT R:
   Good Morning to you. The city of Trapani is in Sicily. It is located in the No. East section of Sicily & happens to be a large city & a very important city as well. Have a nice day my friend.
   ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 04, 2005, 10:49:06 AM
Dinks,
Thanks for the clarification on the salt. Much appreciated when you join in and straighten us out.

I just got off the phone with Joe of Sassone. He will not ship his product but offered two alternatives. First, you can send someone by there but not before Thursday as he is out of sauce. Second, he referred me to a store in Tampa which carries his products. How good is that.

The specific type of sauce Jose uses at Patsy's is Matcriaciana. It is a Sassone exclusive. It costs $21/case.
Ciao
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on April 04, 2005, 11:55:21 AM
Thanks everyone!  Luckily the salt I picked up is exactly the same thing PFT is using!!!  when I was at the market there was another brand of Italian salt that ws MUCH more expensive.  I am going to look into it, but it sounds like that may be the stuff you have Pete-zza.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on April 04, 2005, 12:02:47 PM
Sicily is a big Island and a Political region of Italy. Tapani is a city in Sicily by the sea side. That is the geography sorted.

I use the same salt from Antica Salina, but the no-iodized one. I found that it work better then the iodized one.

Other Italian Sea Salt, that do not specify  "Sicilia", they are most probably from Apulia.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Artale on April 04, 2005, 12:45:28 PM
Sicily is a big Island and a Political region of Italy. Tapani is a city in Sicily by the sea side. That is the geography sorted.

I use the same salt from Antica Salina, but the no-iodized one. I found that it work better then the iodized one.

Other Italian Sea Salt, that do not specify  "Sicilia", they are most probably from Apulia.

My family roots are located  near tapani just east of that city in a town
called Castellammare Del Golfo.  Me and my wife at such a point would like to take
a trip to Italy and Castellammare will be on the list of places to see.

Beautiful landscape!

Chow!!

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on April 04, 2005, 01:04:38 PM
 SALUTI,  PIZZANAPOLITANA:
    Buon giorno, come sta????.  I would like to know if you have ever heard of this brand of sea salt that comes from Trapani???. "MARE-SOL-VENTO" (Sea,Sun, Wind). it is used in many gourmet restaurants.
   Piacere di Fare La Conoscenza. Ciao.
   ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on April 04, 2005, 01:15:45 PM
SCOTT R&   PF TAYLOR:
 Hello again. I must apoligize. I sometimes get confused due to my advanced age. I misspoke earlier when I said that Trapani is located in the NO. East section of Sicily. I was thinking of a another city that has a similiar name & is very popular as well. It just came to me It is located just  simply in the most western portion of the island by the sea. I have never been there but my father was born close by there just south & east of that region a 2 hour ride on a donkey & cart. You'all have a nice day now you hear!!!.

  ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on April 04, 2005, 01:30:55 PM
Ciao Dinks

I never heard of that brand, sorry.

When I was in Naples-Italy, the most common brand available was the "Sale di Sicilia" by Italkali.

Il piacere di conoscerti é tutto mio....

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on April 04, 2005, 03:32:46 PM
..., you can send someone by there but not before Thursday as he is out of sauce.


I hope my sister got there already  :-[


As for salt, does anyone know which brand una pizza napoletana uses?  I have not bought any as of yet since I really wanted to get the same brand as what I tasted there.

Arthur.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 04, 2005, 07:31:08 PM
pftaylor; i saw the pictures of your streched dough.  all the little bubbles , means it's not fully risen and most likely to cold. you need to let it sit longer. on the counter.  anyway i went to pasty's last night. with another pizziola jose' knows both of us. we just started bullcrapping. and i told him how bad the pizza was when he wasn't there.  he ate it up.  i asked did they change the dough etc.  because the pizza was so bad. he said he's not sure what they were doing when he wasn't there. ie. these  new guys don't know how to work the oven(coal) or manage the dough. rise time etc.  we laughed . the dough is pizza flour, yeast, salt, water. no sugar or oil. or starters. the tomatoes are straight sassone. crushed no salt nothing. he also told me they do use other distributers than sassone. we talked more about how he lost 30 pounds and how i gained 30 pounds.  i told him i'm not married to the oven no more, and enjoying life . he told me to come work with him for a few months next to that oven. and i would lose my belly. we laughed.  i didn't press him for anything else. and he never knew i was asking him. nothing i didn't allready know.  plus he made us 2 great pies.  holes and all ;D   i even talked him into letting the first one sit for 10 minutes then reheat it. :P john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 04, 2005, 08:32:53 PM
quidoPizza,
Sounds like you guys had a party with Jose. He really is a genuinely nice fellow isn't he? I wish I was there. I could have used the laughter and another killer pie or two. I would venture to say the 10 minute delayed bake produced a glorious taste.

Over the past few days after getting back to Florida I had an increasingly difficult time believing he added sugar and oil to the original Patsy's formula. I wanted to believe Jose but the facts didn't support his position.

When the manager of one of the mini-chain locations confirmed the Patsy's formula as being flour, water, yeast, and salt I immediately knew Jose was pulling my leg. Or was he? Thinking back he really told me how to make pizza at home using those ingredients. He didn't necessarily state that Patsy's used all those. When I questioned his use of oil and sugar he replied "you use some." But he didn't say HE used some. Very shrewd indeed. I will have to conjure up a suitable practical joke for compensation.

Thanks for all your help. You have cleared up a number of hanging issues which have hung around our collective necks like an albatross. Defining the basic ingredient list is helpful. Putting to rest the notion of a starter is invaluable. We could have bounced that topic around like a volleyball for years.

Now on to my humble efforts at home. I find your comments about the dough bubbles to be one of the areas which I knew I needed to attend to but I had no idea how to approach. Allow me to ask some follow-up questions;
First, could my consumer refrigerator be set too cold? With the effect of delaying the rise? I say this because the dough you saw in the photos had a 2 hour counter rise after a 24 hour cool down in the fridge. It was at room temperature for at least one hour. Could you kindly elaborate on what a proper dough management procedure should be?

Next, I have always understood a long counter rise would promote the formation of bubbles. Do I have that right?

Finally, would cutting back on the amount of commercial yeast reduce the quantity of bubbles? I may not need any commercial yeast as the Varasano biga is whipped into a frenzy by the time I incorporate it into the dough. I can almost feel the attack of the wild yeast on the poor unsuspecting flour. It sort of feels like a Viking ship has landed and the raping and pillaging has begun. Bubbles happen pretty quickly with the mixture during the initial 20 minute rest period of the mixing process. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 04, 2005, 08:59:13 PM
. the dough is pizza flour, yeast, salt, water. no sugar or oil. or starters. the tomatoes are straight sassone. crushed no salt nothing. he also told me they do use other distributers than sassone.
    This sounds about right.  Again, i've never been to patsy's or difaras, or grimaldis but i know how pizza joints run: on the cheap.  This is not necesarily saying "bad".  I know there are a very few pizza joints that spend money on tomatos and good cheese and time developing the dough for texture and flavor...but not many.  They buy in bulk and whatevers the cheapest.  Trumps hi gluten cheaper than balancer this week?  trumps it is.   
Not picking on one pizza place or being a naysayer, just relating my experience.  Thats why after running a pizza shop for 3 yrs. i was making better pizza than people who were in the business for 30 yrs.  How the hell does THAT happen?  Because they're cheap bastards, thats how.  If you ask them and they're honest, they will tell you.  Sometimes its not their fault.  Rent, overhead, labor costs, utilities can all cramp the %$# out of the food budget.  I tried to be frugal as opposed to cheap.  It was easier to spend time than money, so I spent time on the dough(i AM a baker so that wasn't a stretch) and time on the sauce(I started with Bonta but switched to stanislaus products, saporito and 7/11 to be exact.) I got cheap on the cheese.  I bought the most expensive mozz and the cheapest mozz.  All part skim.  The cheapest got the nod....not that ANY cheese is cheap.  I started paying $1.36/lb. Before i left, that same cheese was close to $2.00/lb.  I never used grande because my purveyors couldn't distribute it. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 04, 2005, 09:12:17 PM
bakerboy,
You have exposed the seedy side of the pizzeria business. I have absolutely no doubt about your statements. I saw it with my own eyes. I would say 99.9% of pizzerias that I have been to base their ingredient brand on distributor price that day. I suddenly feel a little dirty.

I could use your help though in the area of dough management. quidoPizza is right. I have a bubble problem. I'm close to cracking the code of totally competent crust. Real close. I've posted my procedure. In the immortal words of Mayor Ed Koch "How am I doin?"

I am so close I don't feel compelled to change anything. But if your trained eye tells you things that you could share to help me climb an inch higher I would be grateful. Any little tidbit of advice will not be wasted.

By the way, where is your bakery going to be? Is it going to be Italian? Will you be making cannoli's? Gelato?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 04, 2005, 10:19:46 PM
first i think most people miss the point on how patsy's has been around so long.  and i'm going to guess here some what. mixing truth with facts...   guys like varesano and others from nyc. may remember up until maybe 1970 or earlier. there were many coal or wood ovens in nyc. as time went all these neighborhoods changed.  all the old timers left. a good pizza became harder to fine. there was a place in little italy bronx called full moon that had a coal oven. and a few others. they all either closed down or changed to gas. pasty's was nothing more than a dump. till they just renovated the place. they had one thing and one thing only. a coal oven. their pizza is made on the cheap . 1/4 lb mozz and plain sauce.  their most likely surived because of low rent . or the owners owned the building. it's in a rotten part of harlem that has been cleaned up.  thier pizza is great . but it's become a cult like following. and i'm  a member. in nyc you can no longer build a coal oven. so the few that are left i will go to from time to time.  i did ask people if o could put coal in my bakers pride pizza oven i was told it would melt the metal. :o  you may want to try putting a few hands full of coal in a wrought iron skillet. and see what happens. i'm really only knowlegable about making 50  lb'sof flour at a time. i go to my cousin's pizzeria to get dough when i make pizza at home. i would say for home. and in florida ther water is crap there. use spring water(bottled)  since your weighting your yeast i would go to the largest bakery you can find and ask to buy a 2 pound yeast. it looks like a block of butter. about $2-4  USE YOUR  recipe and add 4oz. of virgin olive oil( trust me you will taste it) i would mix the dough with cold water disolve the salt water  yeast and oil first by hand. add your flour and mix. about 10 minutes. or untill the dough starts touching the top of the hook like the dough has a hard on... lol test that it is not to hard or soft. add oil or flour . and remix. it has to feel silky. you have to squeeze it .it has to feel good. tight but not like mush. remove and roll closing the tip . like a girls butt you keep trying to push in with out tearing her skin. then push the end into a nipple and close. ( i'm not being dirty )  let sit out in a bowl for 2 hours then but in fridge over night. take out and let sit 2 hours, or less. remove flour and put on plate. feel it . wait open half way if you thing it's good.if not let it sit 1/2 hour before streching. then finish. bubbles will tell you it not ready. for what your doing it's better to make a few differnet doughs a night and play with all of them next day.  i did have a nice chat with jose' and he looked good yesterday.  if i was you   i would try about a 1LB-1lb1/4  OF DOUGH  make square into a cookie sheet. with about 4 oz's of olive oil streach filp. and let stand for about 2-4 hours. in a warm place till you get bubbles  like the dough doubled. add lite sauce .cook in a 450 oven till golden brown . . take out let cool  add your toppings cook about 5-10 minutes more watch not to burn. . you will have the best pie you ever ate. give it a shot..... john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 04, 2005, 10:33:10 PM
bakerboy: funny i just posted about pizzeria's being on the cheap . just came back and read your post and you understand the same thing i've known for 25 years. they will all take short cuts to an extent that they can get away with it. cheese it the biggest thing. if i can get a fair quality cheese that has 45 day old . as compared to a top cheese that 's only 20 days old . i'll take the cheaper cheese . because i know it's age will make it spread better.    good points.  john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 05, 2005, 06:11:26 AM
pft, I see the bubbles in DSC00592.jpg as a huge positive in your dough. This is a sign of well kneaded dough.  The dough I got from Patsy's had the most blistering of any dough I've ever felt and my best pies are produced when I've kneaded it to that point.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 07:46:00 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. I really do appreciate the sense of family on this forum. I look forward to logging on each and every day. This is one of the facets of my life where if I put in a little effort I get back much more in return. Synergism is a good thing. That is what makes this place special in my mind. 1+1 = 3. I wish all of life worked the way this place does. The world would be a better place.

Now, on to making better pizza. The photographs I posted a few days ago were of the most robust dough I have ever made. I know sometimes I speak in the absolute too much, but it was true. The dough handled marvelously compared to any of my previous efforts. I appreciate the feedback on the interpretation of my overly bubbling dough.

It is clear that some bubbling in the dough is a good thing. Over bubbling probably is not. So I very well may have an immature dough on my hands. Either my procdeure is broken or it needs a minor repair - I personally think I am so close I would want to break out the bandaids instead of the scalpels. Open heart surgery is not called for here. My pizza intuition is telling me don't make wholesale changes to the procedure. Tweak it. So I'm going to listen to my gut on this. Here's my plan:

The Pizza Raquel formula calls for 1/4 teaspoon of commercial yeast (in addition to the two heaping tablespoons of Varasano starter). Yesterday afternoon I made another batch with 1/2 the normal amount of yeast. So, I used only 1/8th of a teaspoon of commercial yeast. Since I am a firm believer in making only one change at a time, I will measure the impact of the change and report back to the community in the form of photographs so that the collective intelligence can properly evaluate next steps. 

Stay tuned...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 05, 2005, 10:27:06 AM
Glad you guys see the humor in my"cheap "post.  Funny that quido beat me to that post.  I didn't want to come across as bitter...I'm laughing when i write this stuff.
pft.  My bakery in in Wilmington De.  It will be first and foremost artisan breads.  Thanks to my pizza expeience and this forum i'm very musch considering doing pizza there also...Fri. and Sat. nites only.  I'll post more on this in a new thread about the new bakery and the pizza dough i'll be developing for it.
  On to the topic at hand.  Bubbles.  You either love them or hate them.  I tend to like lots of little bubbles in my dough.  A cross section of my pizza if done correctly will show a nice crust on the bottom then a thin layer of finely porous dough, then the sauce and cheese on top.  The bubbles act as insulation protecting my bottom crust.  I know i haven't posted any pics of this and maybe i should.  it would be easier to see what i'm talking about.  Thats just my take on bubbles. 
Side note;  varasano, i'm diggin that dlx mixer.  My K5 kitchenaid(which i love) isn't that good for doughs such as pizza.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 10:45:48 AM
bakerboy,
Now that we know you are contemplating a return to pizza, albeit on a limited basis, please post your ideal.

You write with a humorous and somewhat jaded edge - with lots of conviction. If I had to venture a guess I'd say you could easily be an Eagle fan. It takes years of losing to develop an approach as finely crafted as yours. I should know. I've been a life-long fan. They say those in pain are blessed. If that's the case then Eagle fans are truly blessed.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 08:28:30 PM
The true test of any recipe is its ability to be accurately reproduced.

Tonight I achieved that goal with the posted recipe in this thread - Pizza Raquel. I started out by easily stretching the dough to over 15", then 16", 17", then over 18". The dough felt like it "wanted" to be stretched. It exhibited an unrippable tactile feedback to my hands. I never felt like the dough was in trouble.

I nearly eliminated the wrinkles which appeared for the first time using the Patsy's dough stretching procedure. They were quite noticable in the last set of pictures I posted. I noticed I was the primary cause due to a spinning and stretching motion when trying to stretch the dough from about 8" to 12". Once I stopped spinning and focused on more stretching the wrinkles lessened.

Take a look. Feedback is generously accepted.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 08:32:31 PM
More
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 08:36:58 PM
Pie #2
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 08:37:36 PM
Pie #2
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 05, 2005, 09:57:42 PM
Cheesy,
I shrunk the skin back down to just under 16" or so. My grill will not accept a pie larger than 16". The reason why I wanted to stretch the skin so big was purely academic. I'm not sure I reached the upper limit. In fact, I wasn't close. I was too worried about being able to get it back down below 16" so my family could eat dinner. The lesson learned on being able to stretch the skin so easily was quite valuable. The dough demonstrated it's high-performance ability to stretch without tearing or even developing those nagging thin spots. Consequently, I very well may choose to reduce the ball size to 13oz or less for a 16" pizza as a result in the near future. The impact of that newfound ability affords the opportunity to reduce the amount of carbohydrates fairly significantly. Fewer carbs without sacrificing taste is a good thing in my opinion.

Here is the complete formulary:

Pizza Raquel - Everything You'd Want (TM Pending) - Based on input from ilpizzaiolo, Pete-zza, Varasano, pizzanapoletana, dinks, bakerboy, quidoPizza, Arthur, friz78 & countless others.

        Weight                         Volume                                     Description                           Bakers Percent
16   oz/  456  Grams      3       cups                                  KASL High Gluten Flour                   100%     
9.6  oz/  273  Grams      1 1/8 cups or 9 fluid oz              Water                                               60%     
.01  oz/  .285 Grams      1/8    teaspoon (baker's pinch)  Instant Dry Yeast                            .15%     
.32  oz/  9.1   Grams      2 1/4 teaspoon                          Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                   2%
.08  oz/  2.3   Grams      1       teaspoon                          Olive oil                                              .5%
1.3  oz/  37    Grams      2       tablespoon                       Varasano Preferment                          8% 

Note: If producing recipe without preferment, boost the IDY to .055 oz, 1/4 teaspoon or .35% of flour

Produces two dough balls weighing 13 - 14oz (enough for two 15" - 16" pizzas)

Preparation Didactics
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and preferment (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute with hook attachment. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Mix on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually. Scrape dough off hook if riding high. Add oil and mix on 2 for 5 minutes. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, drop dough into bowls, cover with shower caps or plastic wrap. I use no oil to coat the balls and have not noticed a problem removing balls from stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24 hours. On the following day, remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approximately 60 - 120 minutes). To ensure light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature before cooking.

Stretching Didactics - Special thanks to DC PM & Jose of Patsy's Pizza
Step 1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Dust well
Step 3 - Flatten pancake further by pressing 8 fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Keep dusted with flour
Step 4 - Place hands palm down inside rim (as if patting with open hand) and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress with favorite toppings
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking (Patsy's uses baker's string)
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into preheated oven (1 hr+) outfitted with a stone or tiles
Step 9 - Bake until lightly charred and golden brown at highest temperature possible
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dinks on April 06, 2005, 11:46:23 AM
PTTAYLOR:
   Good Morning my learned friend. I enjoyed reading your posting, announcing your new found success in makiing the pizza dough concoction that you have been striving for. Although I was born in NU-YOLK-CITY I never heard of all these pizza joints that most of our forum members describe, nor would I be able to find them. However, I would like to take this opportunity to express my Congratulations for a good & hard work done by you.
    PT, Many times in the recent past after reading many of the postings by our members trying to duplicate some joints recipe concoction I wanted to bellow out to them my feeling about their quest but I kept my council & said "Mind your own Bizzz-nizzz". SOOOO, today I will address it too you,
   "LET'S TRY TO BE A FIRST RATE OF OURSELVES RATHER THAN A SECOND RATE OF SOMEDAY ELSE".
  TODAY I THINK YOU ARE A 1ST RATE OF YOURSELF.
  So now my friend figure out how to send me a slice of your pie by ~E~Mail.

Good work, good luck & have a nice day young man.

Friendly Yours,
  ~DINKS.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on April 06, 2005, 12:22:38 PM
PFT

Your pizza truly looks amazing!  The only place you can probably go from here is the oven.   How long do you cook it on your grill?   I think it's time for the coal or wood burning oven in the backyard/kitchen.  You deserve it!

Arthur,
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 06, 2005, 06:25:51 PM
Arthur,
I generally cook the pizza for 3 minutes or less on the TEC grill. Your comment about moving up stream has merit. As hot as my grill gets, it has serious limitations and I have nearly extracted its maximum usefulness at this point. It just doesn't have a lot more to give. I'm grateful to be this far though. One limitation which routinely drives me nuts is the fact that I cannot peer into the cooking area for a visual clue as to the heating process. If you think this isn't tough try baking a pie blindfolded and get back with me. Its a level of difficulty which is unnecessary and almost borders on crazy.

I am in the middle of informal negotiations to have a wood burning 42" outdoor oven built on my screen enclosed pool deck. I would also like to be able to switch fuel sources and experience coal as well. The project should be initiated by next winter/spring. Part of the timing issue is the availability of the oven expert to take on a residential project. 

Dinks,
I have been in an all day business meeting and simply could not respond to your thoughtful post until now. I had a huge smile on my face as a result of your kind words and couldn't wait to jump on the nearest keyboard.

You have recognized the true outcome of the reverse engineering effort. I have developed my own style now and playfully call it Raquel (after my all-time favorite lady). Growing up I thought of Raquel as the ultimate woman. The pizzas I have been making lately strike me the same way. The ultimate exemplary experience. Extraordinary in every way. I could honestly be happy for the rest of my life making Raquels.

I have absolutely no interest in trying to reproduce another man's pizza because I now know I could never do it as well as he can. For instance, no one can make a DiFara pie as well as Dom. Why? Because it is an extension of who he is as a person and a pizzaiolo.

The members here who pointed me in the right direction on this journey shared a piece of themselves to help me with where I wanted to go - even though I had no idea where the actual end point was. True Pizzaiolo knew though. Dinks, you must of known all along I'm certain of it. The question was would I tire before I got there and then would I even recognize it once I had it.

I originally thought I could perfectly reproduce a Patsy's pizza. Now, I realize the fallacy of that goal. I felt the membership pulled me out of the ditch more than once, dusted me off, and sent me on my way. Some of you even knew where I was heading which ended up being a place I never knew existed.

Pizza making, for me, is a 50/50 proposition of art and science. In order to be proficient in making pizzas you first must understand the basic principles behind heat, ingredients, dough management, mixing, stretching, and finally baking. Oh, and the most important ingredient - you must have passion. Pizza is not something that can be made well by robots. It will always have a human element to it which cannot be reproduced. Even genetically identical twins would create different pizzas with the exact same ingredients in my opinion. Speaking of genes, half of mine come from Italy. Sant' Angelo dei Lombardi to be exact. My grandfather married a blonde haired blue eyed girl from Naples. His name was Vincent Quagliariello. They then boarded a ship to NY and he started out pushing a fruit cart through the streets. He ended up owning one of the largest produce companies in NY. I was born in Brooklyn many years ago and the rest is history as they say. I guess that's where my passion for pizza comes from.

Over the coming days I will try and express my Pizza Raquel formulary in a way so that the special community here can try and reproduce a convincing version of it. However, I now know there is only one Raquel and she is all mine.

You can have her sister though. I hear she's available...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 08, 2005, 10:25:55 AM
Here is the final formula for the reverse engineering effort of a true NY style pie (similar to a convincing home version of a Patsy's Pizza):

                                                                  NYC Style Pizza
 
        Weight                         Volume                                     Description                           Bakers Percent
16   oz/  456  Grams      3       cups                                  KASL High Gluten Flour                   100%     
9.6  oz/  273  Grams      1 1/8 cups or 9 fluid oz              Water                                               60%     
.01  oz/  .285 Grams      1/8    teaspoon (baker's pinch)  Instant Dry Yeast                        .0625%     
.32  oz/  9.1   Grams      2 1/4 teaspoon                          Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                   2%
.08  oz/  2.3   Grams      1       teaspoon                          Olive oil                                              .5%
1.3  oz/  37    Grams      2       tablespoon                       Varasano Preferment                          8% 
27.31oz/777.685 Grams

Notes: If producing recipe without preferment, boost the IDY to .055 oz, 1/4 teaspoon or .35% of flour. Also, a coal-fired or wood buring oven is not necessary to achieve a great pizza from this recipe. However, adherence to the ingredient weight/volume and preparation/stretching steps are. A standard home oven pre-heated at 550 degrees for at least an hour, fitted with a stone, will suffice. The addition of olive oil while not used by most, if any, of the elite coal fired oven joints in NYC is required by most home pizza makers. Here's why, the realities of mixing dough with non-commercial mixers indicate the recipe will benefit with the aid of oil. Browning will also. Consider its incorporation to be optional if you have a beast of a mixer or if you have an oven capable of extreme heat. Fine cut sea, kosher, or table salt can be substituted for Sicilian sea salt. Produces two dough balls weighing 13 - 14oz (enough for two 15" - 16" pizzas).

Preparation Didactics
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and preferment (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute with hook attachment. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Mix on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually. Scrape dough off hook if riding high. Add oil and mix on 2 for 5 minutes. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, drop dough into bowls, cover with shower caps or plastic wrap. I use no oil to coat the balls and have not noticed a problem removing balls from stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24 hours. On the following day, remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approximately 60 - 120 minutes). To ensure light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature before cooking.

Stretching Didactics
Step 1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Dust well
Step 3 - Flatten pancake further by pressing 8 fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Keep dusted with flour
Step 4 - Place hands palm down inside rim (as if patting with open hand) and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress with favorite toppings
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking (Patsy's uses baker's string)
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into preheated oven (1 hr+) outfitted with a stone or tiles
Step 9 - Bake until lightly charred and golden brown at highest temperature possible 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Without the help of the wonderful membership of pizzamaking.com, this scalable recipe would not have been possible. The recipe is expressed in terms that make it useful for both the starting novice and hopefully the advanced pizza maker as well. It truly was a collaborative effort. Special thanks goes to ilpizzaiolo, Pete-zza, Varasano, pizzanapoletana, dinks, bakerboy, DC Pizza Maker, quidoPizza, friz78, Arthur, Jose of Patsy's Pizza and Dominic De Marco of DiFara for the inspiration to create such a masterpiece. A special mention to Steve for allowing this project to continue to completion.

All that remains now is for the membership to report results...

Ciao
 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 08, 2005, 11:25:05 AM
Cheesy,
Varasano and pizzanapoletana both recommend the Italian starter (two types for $16) from sourdo.com. It is optional but would add loads of flavor.

Want to give it a shot?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 11:46:25 AM
I have never tried the italian starter from sourdo.com, but I do know that they sell excellent products.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 08, 2005, 11:54:39 AM
Cheesy,
It is optional.

Varasano,
I'm sorry, I guess when you recommended buying a starter from sourdo, I assumed you meant the Italian one. From your experience, which would you suggest?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 11:58:37 AM
How well kneaded is your dough? This one was made with KA Bread Flour, not KA Sir Lancelot. Gluten development, in my opinion, is affected more by how well kneaded the dough is than by the protein content.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 12:03:20 PM
Really, I don't have a recommendation. I know they sell good products because Ed's book is great and he obviously has a real passion.  He's selling cultures that come from top bakeries around the planet.  I bought the San Francisco, but it was taken over by the Patsy's in like a week. It smelled really, really different and then boom one day, it was gone, completely replaced.  Those Patsy's guys are tough little buggers.

The San Fran was REALLY sour smelling.

Anyway, bottom line cheesy is that I'd try the italian and I probably will too someday.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 12:12:14 PM
Cheesy, FYI the question "How well Kneaded is your dough?" was directed at everyone, not in response to your question.

Anyway, To get well kneaded dough you have to do several things.  Check out my web page for full details.
But in short:
- I find that the Autolyse period is key. Mix the dough very wet for 1-2 minutes, then let sit for 20 minutes

- Knead by machine in a very wet condition, adding flour gradually. Do not put in enough flour for it to start sticking to the machine and just spin around uselessly.  I machine knead 10 minutes on, 5 off, 5-7 on.  This is a lot more than most people recommend. I still have a half batter/half dough through most of the process, until near the end.  In larger machine I could probably babysit it less and add most of the flour up front. But with home machines, I think this process is best.

- I use a DLX 2000 and not the Kitchen Aid most use. I gave up on that. A Food processor will knead the dough very well in much less time, but will heat up the dough and kill the yeast, so it's hard to work it consistently.

- Let the dough rest for 20 minutes after kneading before forming  into balls.

Jeff


Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 08, 2005, 12:33:11 PM
Cheesy,
I would recommend reproducing the formula I posted exactly. It will produce the best dough you have ever used (in my humble opinion). The dough kneads so well its spooky.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 08, 2005, 12:39:53 PM
I frequently use a food processor (Cuisinart 14-cup) for kneading dough, but to prevent overheating of the dough what I usually do is temperature adjust the water to around 80 degrees F (using around 35 degrees F for the friction factor for my processor) and I also only primarily use the pulse button.  As an example, if I want to get a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F, and my room temperature is 72 degrees F, my flour temperature is also 72 degrees F (which is usually the case when the flour is at room temperature), and the friction factor for my food processor is 35 degrees F, then the water temperature (WT) needed to get the finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F is:

                   WT = (3 x 80) - (72 + 72 + 35) = 61 degrees F.

The water temperature in the above example, along with using the pulse switch, should get me close to the 80 degrees F target. If I'm a bit low on the dough temperature, and the dough looks like it might need a bit more kneading, I will sometimes use the regular speed button, but only for the shortest time possible so as not to get the overheating that Jeff mentions.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on April 08, 2005, 01:18:54 PM
this is why patsy's uses ice to make dough
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 03:25:17 PM
Cheesy, bounce over to my page (click the little globe under my name) and I cover my opinion on the oven and the kneading.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 03:58:54 PM
LOL.... good luck with that...  I would rather have Patsy's take out, but ....

This is not an easy thing to do.  It took years to get all this down. With a digital thermometer and aliminum foil you can control the temp.  Look at the photo of the bottom of my pie. It's perfect. But, the first 5 were pitch black.

Of course you don't have to be as crazy as pftaylor and I, but there are no shortcuts.  None of these methods are 'set it and forget it'. A real brick oven guy is constantly managing his coals. With the grill pft is, I'm sure, constantly adjusting. Same with the cleaning cycle thing. 

The digital thermometer is key though. You won't get far without it. Not without tons of practice.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 04:13:05 PM
Actually Cheese, I hope I didn't sound snippy in my reply. I read it over and it came across that way. Sorry.

But I don't know a home oven that can be rigged to self regulate itself at these out of bounds temps. There might be a commercial oven that does so.  But for home, I doubt it. Any homemade rigging is going to need tweeking by you ongoingly, but it is a battle that can be mastered.


Jeff

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 08, 2005, 04:41:00 PM
Sounds good, but $16.00 ?

Thats some expensive yeast. 
cheesy, if you mix together 1lb. of flour, 1lb. of water and a pinch of regular yeast, it will produce a very nice starter if you allow it to ferment and keep refreshing it.  Bought yeasts will work well also,but for pizza purposes, you really don't need to go to that expense.  Also, your right in using whats available.  if your pies bake better at 500 or 550F, and that works for you,cool.  it works for me.  i bake mine in an oven on 550 on a stone and they come out great.
PFT, maybe i didn't catch it in your previous posts but what is the hydration of the preferment your using?  Just wondering if you like it more liquid or more "doughy" and thick.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 04:49:34 PM
It's $16 one time. You keep it alive and never have to buy it again.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 08, 2005, 05:05:44 PM
I would rather run around with a net catching wild yeasts before I paid $16.00

lol  thats funny.

varasano, what kind of oven are you using to get that extreme temp.?  you doin the grill thing like pft?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 07:05:57 PM
no, I'm using a regular kitchen aid oven on the cleaning cycle
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: bakerboy on April 08, 2005, 07:37:22 PM
I don't have a self clean cycle, i just bury mine on 550.  The ovens i've seen that have a self clean cycle have doors that lock down until the cycle is over.  Obviously yours doesn't.  THAT would be a catastrophe.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on April 08, 2005, 08:23:40 PM
pftaylor; if your really going to build an outdoor oven. i would make sure it will burn coal.   you may WANT to get intouch with BAKERS PRIDE. THE PIZZA OVEN CO. THEY ARE IN NEW ROCHELLE NEW YORK. I THINK ON PINE STREET. TO GET YOUR STONES. THERE IS ALSO A MAGAZINE I THINK CALLED PIZZA TIMES OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. most pizzeria's get it free.  you may get somwe good ideas from reading that maybe you can subcribe. by the way your pie's look good. when you look at the bottom of a cooked dough. the more little  burnt circles you get. means the dough is not fully risen. ui would try adding an hour to your stand out time before streching when the dough is near perfect. after cooking the crust will have a uniform color all the way around. plus i looked at your pictures. looks like you may be using too much temp? i would try 50 or 75 degrees less and let the pie cook an other minute or so. should make the pie a little more crunchy.   again i'm just guessing.  i may make a pie in my cookie sheet tomorrow. wish i had a camera. to show you what i do. the only question will be what is the topping i may make diced fresh plum tomatoes, with fried oil and garlic, red pepper, hot sausage, chopped brocoli rabe. with fresh mozz. just ooooooooozzzzing with flavor :o john
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 08, 2005, 10:29:49 PM
I would rather run around with a net chasing wild yeasts before I paid $16.00

LOL, Ed wood circled the globe finding the best yeast samples. Good luck with the net thing...
Title: Cento Tomatoes
Post by: varasano on April 09, 2005, 04:45:25 AM
I've always used Cento Tomatoes. In the past few months I tried out several others:
 -  Escalon Bella Rosa
 -  Sclafani DOP Certified San Marzano
 -  La Bella San Marzano

My conclusion:
I have a new appreciation for the Cento.  I'm going back. It's no contest.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 09, 2005, 07:00:36 AM
bakerboy,
I refresh the starter with 50% water and 50% flour by weight, not by volume.

quidoPizza,
I am preparing to go India all next week so I won't have time to make pizzas - unless I find a Bangalorian pizzaiolo who will let me at his oven! Wouldn't that be fun? I'm sure they make pizzas over there that are, well, lets say different.

Anyway, I will heed your sage advice and allow the dough to rest a little more on the counter. I must tell you though that the dough is so very competent right now I'm hesitant to change anything. There may be one other area where a slightly longer counter rise would be helpful and that would be in the area of flavor. If another hour or so would allow the wild yeast to burst through even more than its a change worth making. Color me willing but skeptical. The dough produced by the Raquel formula is outstanding in every way compared to anything I have produced in the past. Now if I can coax a little more flavor out of it by a slightly longer counter rise and not compromise the superior handling characteristics, than count me in.

As a data point, I used an all natural yeast rise last night for an experiment. One dough had a cold 26 hour rise followed by a 4 hour counter rise and the second dough ball has a 4 hour counter rise followed by a 22 hour cold rise followed by a 4 hour counter rise. The results were uneven at best.

Better flavor at the expense of noticeably poorer dough performance is the summary. One very interesting note though is the fact that the crust tasted exactly like Patsy's. Dead ringer. Indistinguishable from Jose's crust. It even had the same sticky-to-the-tooth-feeling-before-melting-sensation that Patsy's is known for (at least by my family). But my family didn't prefer it to the Raquel formula crust which is a little crispier. The dough didn't handle or stretch as well either. It also had those pesky blister holes on the bottom.  I was probably to blame for those as my grill was preheated for a little longer than 1/2 hour. The intense heat of the TEC grill must somehow super heat the tiles past their ability to uniformly heat the bottom of the pie.

An overall conclusion I can draw from this is that Jose must let his dough sit at room temperature for about 4 hours after an overnight cold rise. Or that my dough management procedure somehow mimics Jose's when I utilize a 4 hour counter rise with natural yeast.

The taste was too close (dare I say even identical) for his dough process to be much less than that. In an odd way, I may have stumbled upon the exact way to reproduce the Patsy's crust in a home setting, without even realizing it. The rim spring is another bell ringer. Jose's crust had very little if any. My crust last night had very little if any either. Coincidence? I think not. The point of the experiment was not to try and reproduce the taste and texture components of the Patsy's crust but that is exactly what happened.

Varasano, are you listening to this? This could be the end to your journey my friend. Schlep over to the Lehmann thread for the visuals. I report, you decide.

Life is kind of funny. I spent months trying to duplicate the exact taste and texture profile of my favorite pizza joint and when I stopped trying it happened. I made my mind up a few days ago to not try and reproduce another man's pie. Then bam. It just came to me out of the blue. Whew! Think about that for a moment.

So I now find myself standing on the cliff of being able to reproduce the Patsy's pizza perfectly. What will I do? Easy question to answer. I will blow right by Jose and all the other coal fired pizza joints in NYC and produce my pie, my way. Which very well may be a Patsy's style pizza with oven spring. Wouldn't that be nice. Oh and with ultra high quality ingredients to boot. There, I said it. That's my ideal. Pizza Raquel - Everything you'd want!

As far as regulating the heat better I wish that were an option. My grill is really not designed for baking pies and is really being asked to do things which it shouldn't. I cannot control the heat setting finely enough to drop it down a hundred degrees or so. It is either full bore and I get a 3 minute bake or its inconsistent and deeply flawed baking times. The least little change in anything right now spells doom.

Remember, I can't see through the hood to see how the bake is going. It has taken me the better part of six months of burning pies to get to the point where I'm at now which is relative equal heat for the top and bottom of a pie. There is only so much one can expect from a grill which is not designed to be an oven. The biggest difference is that a grill is not designed to retain heat whereas an oven can. I fear that I will have to limp along with my grill until a wood burning oven is erected on my pool deck.

The good news is I do have access to the luxury of extreme heat. While it may not be as robust as that from a true oven, its the next best thing. Certainly better than the 550 degree pies I used to make.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 09, 2005, 07:22:12 PM
I'm listening....  It sounds like after all this your recipe is pretty much what I was telling you to do in Jan, LOL...  Patsy's starter plus commercial yeast booster to give it spring, sea salt, no sugar, autolyse, long wet knead, high hydration, post knead rest, no oil coating, long cold rise plus short counter rise, 800F oven. Crushed tomatoes strained with a bit of salt and sugar and not much else.

;-)

But you are a great perfectionist like me and had to test everything.

The pies you had recently at Patsy's had little spring. But the best pies I had there years ago had a lot of spring and that's what my recipe is trying to get to. I've only done a few pies with no commercial yeast booster, and just like you, I concluded that's not the way to go.

As I can see it, there are only 2 real differences in our dough. I'm using KA Bread flour and don't put any oil in the dough. I think we may end up splitting the difference. I think that now that you know how to autolyse and do the wet knead, you will find you do not need the oil to get the dough to handle right. It will actually be lighter with more spring and less chewyness without the oil.  The recent shot I posted of that very windowpaned dough had no oil. I took an extra 8.2 oz piece and stretched it to 15 inches no problem at all.  As for the flour,  I have the KASL here but haven't gotten round to trying it, so maybe I might come around to that.  But I predict you will start using the Cento Tomatoes with a dash of romano cheese grated in...

Welcome to paradise ;-)

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 09, 2005, 09:56:48 PM
Varasano,
Good points one and all.

You still use a slight amount of oil to wipe down the balls right? I have eliminated that amount as I have a plastic scraper which cleanly removes the ball from the stainless steel rising bowls. However, I have found that a little amount of oil is beneficial. Specifically, the crust doesn't seem as dry with the addition of oil. But you may be right, now that I'm more comfortable with the value of autolyse, it may not be necessary anymore.

I was considering removing the oil all together but I have been trying so many other tweaks I haven't had a chance to try the recipe without the aid of oil. I now have a firm discipline of only trying one change at a time. I will not stray from that committment to myself.

I must confess that I think the Kitchen Aid needs the help of the oil to properly develop the dough. But I am open to trying the time-tested formula without it. Unfortunately, it will have to wait till I return from AsiaPac. Clearly, the fact that I have to use oil when Patsy's and others don't have to has weighed on my mind.

I have not had the same luck with Cento DOP San Marzanos as you by the way. So far, they are rated near the bottom by me and my entire family. Bitter aftertaste is what I remember about them. The Italian market where I buy the DOP tomato sauce carries about five brands. I buy them all and so far no one brand has distinguished itself from the pack. Several brands have been dropped from further consideration however, and Cento is in the latter category.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 10, 2005, 06:22:30 AM
Hey pft,

I don't coat the ball, all I do is wipe down the container with literally a drop per ball. The plastic containers really need this or the dough sticks and deflates when it comes out. But the amount needed is literally just the smallest amount then I try to wipe it out and whatever is left is what I need. I have made as many as 14 balls so I can't stack that many stainless steel containers in my fridge, so I use the plastic ones.

The dough will not seem dry when it is light (and it will lighten without the oil.)

>the Kitchen Aid
You know I hate that machine and use the DLX. But maybe with the newer wet-mix procedure I might be able to coax a good knead out of the machine. If you want to drop the oil but feel the KA is not working, try going wetter for longer and add more of the flour nearer to the end. And just lengthen the overall knead time, perhaps by a lot.

Or just dump the machine. The DLX is so much better. It's only $469 new, even less on ebay.

I don't use the Cento San Marzano, just the regular. I didn't like the San Marzano either. I don't know if anyone has ever mentioned this, but I shake every can when I buy it. You can tell a watery can from a viscous can by the sound and feel when you shake it. The more watery, the more bitter. Try the grated romano to remove the bitter flavor.  Check my web page for an overhaul of my sauce section ( section 8 ).

Regarding the time of the counter rise and it's affect on flavor, read section 1 on the lactobacilli. Now that you have the starter, check out that section again. I don't think the counter rise time is a factor in flavor. But you might consider aging in the fridge a lot longer. I've gone as long as 5 days with good results. After that it's downhill. I think 3 is really optimal. If you found that the all-culture dough had more flavor than the culture/commercial combo, you should consider that the longer cold rise will make up for that.  You put in the commercial to help the spring, but let it age more to get more flavor and in the end you get both desirable features. Try a 1 day and 3 day from the same batch and you will see the difference.

Have a safe trip and try the Nan bread. Did Mark ever call you? I didn't follow up with him. Wish me luck on my launch next week in New Orleans.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 10, 2005, 08:41:29 AM
Quick note on the dough you tried a counter rise, followed by a cold rise. This basically never works in my opinion because after 4 hours some expansion of the dough has taken place and when you chill it the bubbles collapse and the dough structure can never really recover.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 10, 2005, 08:51:12 AM
V,
Great point. I noticed that the cold rise dough had superior handling characteristics over the warm rise dough. The taste though was nearly the same with the warm rise dough having slightly more pronounced flavor - but not by much. In fact, I was the only member of my family who could detect the difference.

I am definitely going to try an extended cold rise. Perhaps 2 and 3 days and measure the results. I have not been contacted by Mark yet.

Thanks for all your tips, they really are quite helpful. I have another batch ready to go today and it will be interesting to taste the results. I reread your web page and noticed you made a number of changes - for the better it seems.
Ciao
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 10, 2005, 01:29:42 PM
I wanted to share with the community my latest effort before I whisked off for Bangalore. I varied my usual rising procedure at the suggestion of quidoPizza and tried a 3 hour counter rise instead of 2. The result? Comparatively the dough seemed a little softer but I didn't detect any noticeable thin spots. After grilling the crust seemed a tad softer. Not a bad crust mind you but it didn't exhibit the normal crispy bottom veneer my family has come to appreciate. In the first photograph where I'm holding the dough over my knuckles, notice how uniform the skin appears. It was very competent and stout. Overall, I would say the extra rise time had little downside. The suggested rise time could be anywhere between 2 - 3 hours and the dough would still be exceptional.

I giggle every time I make a pie now because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how delicious it will turn out. I no longer have to worry about all the little things affecting how the dough will perform. It is as if the margin of error has been improved ten-fold. I cannot begin to tell you how comforting it is to know that little mistakes won't turn your dinner into a disaster. I can now experiment with interesting topping combinations, perfecting my sauce recipe, or try other formulas because I now know I can always go back home into the waiting arms of Raquel.

The first pizza was a pepperoni pie where I decided to cut the pepperoni in a match stick style instead of round. It was a winner. The second pie was my normal Raquel with the addition of Italian salami. Em em good!
Ciao
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 10, 2005, 01:31:32 PM
More pie...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 10, 2005, 01:32:13 PM
Final shots of pie #2
Title: Tonights Pies
Post by: varasano on April 10, 2005, 11:30:25 PM
These photos do not really do these pies justice. These were among the lightest I've ever gotten the crust.  This is the first pie I've made with my standard dough recipe since fixing my cheese problem, so these were among my best pies ever. I wish I could show the crust spring. It was very springy.

These doughs were exremely wet and spread like butter. I didn't measure, but I'd guess these were a 64% hydration.  I may even have spread them too much. The pie went to 14" and was a bit too thin.  With this weight (270g) I should keep it to 13". It barely fit on the stone.

The only minor issue I had was that the oven temp differential got a little mixed up because my guests came an hour late and forced me to turn the oven off and recycle it back up. So the end result is that the top did not cook quite as much as I'd like.

I've lowered the stone temp to 790F. I think I'm going to keep it this low.  The bottom burns less and I seem to have more control overall.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 10, 2005, 11:35:07 PM
I also ran some experiments were I cooked the sauce two ways. But the pie with the uncooked sauce won hands down.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 10, 2005, 11:39:33 PM
3 days ago I posted a photo of windowpaning. These dough are from that batch after a 3 day cold rise and a 3 hour counter rise.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 11, 2005, 05:09:19 PM
I am stuck at Dulles International awaiting the flight to Frankfurt and ultimately on to Bangalore and I wondered, who would sign up to try the formula which has been honed in this thread?

Pete-zza (God bless this man) has pointed out that there may be large variations in the formula if you try it with volumes instead of weights. Apparently, every measurement is inconcise when measuring due to the imprecise nature of measuring spoons and especially measuring cups. I have not had an opportunity to try the recipe with volume measurements. Until I do, I would heartily recommend trying the formula with weights - if possible.

You'll be glad you did...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 11, 2005, 07:21:15 PM
And do us all a favor and report in grams not oz,tsp, tbsp, etc.

pft, my last dough was REALLY wet. Probably 64%. But it was one of my best. I'll try to measure next time.

;-)

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 11, 2005, 08:23:03 PM
I plan on giving it a go later this week. I'll have to up the IDY amount until I can get some starter. I'll report back with pictures and thoughts.

Brian
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: wayno on April 12, 2005, 07:14:21 PM
Here is the complete formulary:

Pizza Raquel - Everything You'd Want (TM Pending) - Based on input from ilpizzaiolo, Pete-zza, Varasano, pizzanapoletana, dinks, bakerboy, quidoPizza, Arthur, friz78 & countless others.

        Weight                         Volume                                     Description                           Bakers Percent
16   oz/  456  Grams      3       cups                                  KASL High Gluten Flour                   100%     
9.6  oz/  273  Grams      1 1/8 cups or 9 fluid oz              Water                                               60%     
.01  oz/  .285 Grams      1/8    teaspoon (baker's pinch)  Instant Dry Yeast                            .15%     
.32  oz/  9.1   Grams      2 1/4 teaspoon                          Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                   2%
.08  oz/  2.3   Grams      1       teaspoon                          Olive oil                                               5%
1.3  oz/  37    Grams      2       tablespoon                       Varasano Preferment                          8% 

Quote
PFTAYLOR (Peter),

Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!  I made it exactly as instructed (with the extra 1/8 tsp ADY as I do not have the Verasano Preferment). I mixed it on Friday.  Had one wonderful pie 24 hrs later and enjoyed another today (Tuesday) which had even more flavorful crust than the first.  It was quite a thin crust (but strong enough for loaded toppings) as I stretched both to 15" with a nice rim.

Thanks again!

Wayno
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 12, 2005, 07:24:18 PM
I'm a little curious-- with 3 cups of flour and only 1 1/8 cups of liquid --is'nt the dough rather dry??? I use close to that liquid with only 2 cups of flour and still sometimes I have to add water....please elaborate, thanks....
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: wayno on April 12, 2005, 07:55:39 PM
MTPIZZA,

Go back and read the complete recipe (on this thread) that contains PFTAYLOR'S/Verazano's instructions on mixing the dough.  It is really amazing how this dough comes out of the fridge after 24 hrs.  It really softens up just like a pillow!  And has remarkable stretching characteristics.

Wayno
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 12, 2005, 08:03:18 PM
This dough should be rather wet. My dough is probably a bit wetter than pfTaylor's.  Don't force flour into it just because of a recipe.  If you feel that the dough is coming along and you still have some flour left, that's perfectly ok.

Some of the numbers in the chart above are off.  2 tablespoons of starter would probably weigh no more than 15g not 37. A teaspoon of oil is not 5%.

But the grams column looks about right.  Except I recommend no oil if you have the oven to the correct temp (750F or higher)

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 12, 2005, 10:01:33 PM
I, too, decided to try out the Raquel recipe, with a few modifications.

First, I downsized the recipe to make enough dough for a 14-inch pizza, the largest my pizza stone can accommodate. For purposes of downsizing, I used the baker's percents specified in the Raquel recipe along with a thickness factor of 0.07, which is what I roughly calculated to be the thickness factor used in the Raquel recipe. Second, I used a somewhat different dough processing sequence and autolyse. For this purpose, I used the autolyse procedure described recently by DINKS (see more on this below).

The final recipe I came up was as follows, together with the baker's percents (Note: the latest iteration of the Raquel recipe on this thread contains the correct baker's percents, and are also correctly repeated below):

100%, Flour (KASL high-gluten), 6.30 oz. (about 1 1/4 c. + 3 T.)
60%, Water, 3.79 oz. (a bit less than 1/2 c., temp. adjusted to get a finished dough temp. of 80 degrees F)
0.0625%, IDY, 0.004 oz. (2/100 t., or a very small pinch between the thumb and forefinger)
2%, Salt, 0.126 oz. (about 5/8 t.)
0.5%, Oil, 0.32 oz. (between 1/8 and 1/4 t.)
8%, Preferment, 0.51 oz. (about 3/4 T.)

One of the interesting aspects of the above recipe is the very small amount of IDY--about 2/100 teaspoon. To give one an idea of how little that is, it takes about 6 pinches of IDY between the thumb and forefinger to fill 1/8 teaspoon. Just one of those pinches is about 2/100 of a teaspoon.

To make the dough according to the DINKS autolyse description, I first combined and thoroughly mixed one-third of the flour (2.10 oz.), one-third of the water (1.26 oz.), and the IDY. Then I added the preferment (3/4 T.), the remainder of the flour (4.20 oz.) and the remainder of the water (2.53 oz.), and thoroughly mixed all these ingredients together. The dough at this stage was left to rest for about 30 minutes (autolyse). After the autolyse, the remainder of the ingredients, namely the oil and the salt, were added in succession and kneaded in with the rest of the dough ingredients for 8 minutes. The dough was then given a second rest (not technically an autolyse) for 15 minutes. At the end of the second rest, the dough weighed 10.77 oz. and had a finished dough temperature of around 79 degrees F.

The dough was put in a plastic storage bag and placed in the refrigerator. In an effort to provoke greater fermentation out of the dough, I left it in the refrigerator for 46 hours. At the end of that period, the dough was brought to room temperature, covered with a bit of bench flour and a sheet of plastic wrap, and left alone for about 1 hour to warm up (to about 62 degrees F.) It should be noted that at the point where I took the dough out of the refrigerator, it had slumped into a flat pancake-like disk. This reminded me of the same behavior as the doughs I made using the Caputo 00 flour and Caputo 00 natural starter.

At the end of the warmup period, the dough was shaped into a 14-inch skin. The dough was absolutely wonderful to work with. It was soft, extremely extensible but without any signs of tears or weak or thin spots forming. Although I was aiming for a 14-inch skin, I had no difficulty stretching the dough even further, and I am certain I could have stretched it a great deal more had I wanted. It clearly was one of the nicest doughs I have ever had to work with.

The skin was dressed in a simple style, mainly using up leftovers of San Marzano tomatoes and three different mozzarella cheeses, together with a sprinkling of olive oil and Sicilian sea salt with dried basil. The pizza was baked for about 6 minutes on a pizza stone that had been preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. About 5 minutes into the bake cycle, I turned on the broiler and moved the pizza from the stone to the top oven rack just below the broiler for a final minute or so.

The photos below show the finished product. I apologize for the darkness of some of the photos. Apparently, I forgot to turn on the background lighting. In any event, the pizza tasted very good. The crust was thin, soft and chewy in the middle and chewy and crunchy at the rim. The crust also had many bubbles, a few of which I found necessary to burst with a metal skewer. This was surprising since the dough as it was being stretched and shaped showed no signs of bubbling, as noted in one of the photos below. The crust was also lightweight and delicate and had nice flavors of fermentation. I had used my Texas-bred preferment--a natural starter based on the Caputo 00 flour--yet it produced a lot of flavor. It reminded me in that respect of the pizza crusts of the Caputo 00 pizzas I have been making over the past several weeks (and discussed on the Caputo 00 thread).

As a final note, one should use the weight measurements of the Raquel recipe if at all possible, pending a possible revision of the volume measurements given in the recipe. pftaylor is aware of a possible discrepancy, as he noted in an earlier thread, and will most likely be addressing the ingredient volumes of his recipe once he returns home and has a chance to fine tune the recipe.

My hat goes off to pftaylor, and to those who inspired, helped and taught him, for coming up with a first-rate recipe. And thanks also to my good friend DINKS for his thoughtfulness in conveying the basic principles of autolyse to me.

Peter

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Artale on April 13, 2005, 10:15:36 AM
Peter,

thankyou for your deligent work in explaining your findings and procedures!

4 Questions i have: 1)  Did you notice and increase in flavor due to the
                                     low yeast, autolyse period and longer fridge time?

                                2) How long does it take you to bring the dough
                                     to room temperature from the fridge?

                                 3)  what temp. water did you use?

                                 4) Do you recommend a starter  (spourdough.com)

Due to you and others on this forum my pizza making has increased
in quality and once i get a digital camera i would love to share my
pictures with the group.

thank you all for your help and thank you Peter!

Artale...   :)
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 13, 2005, 11:31:40 AM
Artale,

I'm glad to hear that your pizza making skills are improving. As they say, the devil is in the detail :).

As for your questions:

1) Did you notice and increase in flavor due to the low yeast, autolyse period and longer fridge time?

It's hard to know what to give credit to when you do several things at the same time, but there's no doubt in my mind that using a longer retardation improves the flavor profile of the crust, so long as the dough isn't allowed to overproof. But I believe using the natural preferment is a greater contributor to flavor. Where the small amount of commercial yeast (IDY) seems to be most useful is in achieving a better oven spring. It also may act to save the dough in the event the preferment is too weak to do the job. Usually when I have combined both commercial and natural yeast in the same dough, the flavor is not as potent as when only the natural yeast (preferment) is used.  In the version of pftaylor's recipe I used, the IDY was so small that it may not have had the effect of muting the fermentation flavors from the natural yeast. As for the autolyse, I will have to repeat the experiment without using the autolyse to get a better feel for its value. The autolyse I used was quite different from what pftaylor uses, but the results seem to have been very good nonetheless. If pftaylor decides to try the autolyse I used (which was based on DINKS' discussion on the topic), he will certainly have a better feel than I as to its value.

2) How long does it take you to bring the dough to room temperature from the fridge?

I usually go by dough temperature rather than time since a dough will warm up faster when the room is warm and slower when the room is cold. The standard temperature that is often recommended for shaping a dough is above 50 degrees F. Below that, the dough is likely to experience problems with bubbling. I usually shoot for something between 57-62 degrees F, even though that is no guarantee that you won't get bubbling, as I did when I made my dough yesterday. I'm sure I could have used an even longer warmup period without adversely affecting the dough.

3)  what temp. water did you use?

I calculated the temperature of the water to use based on the room temperature (77.6 degrees F), the flour temperature (76.8 degrees F), and the friction factor for my KitchenAid stand mixer (I used 5 degrees F). I was striving for a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F. To calculate the water temperature to use to get that finished dough temperature, I solved for WT (water temperature) in this expression:

           WT = (3 x 80) - (77.7 + 76.8 + 5) = 80.6 degrees F.

Using that water temperature, the finished dough temperature was around 79 degrees F. Unlike most people, I have gotten in the habit of calculating water temperature each time I make a dough, rather than guessing or using prior experience. The calculated approach is just more precise.

4) Do you recommend a starter (spourdough.com)

I think a starter (preferment) is a very good idea if you want a lot of crust flavor and are willing to establish and maintain the starter. I started mine from scratch using Texas wild yeast, but I am certain that the starters sold by sourdo.com are very good and most likely better than the one I am using. If you are interested in experimenting with a preferment, you might want to start off simply by making your own just to see if you like the results. If you do, you can always decide to get one from sourdo.com or elsewhere.

Good luck.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 13, 2005, 03:46:43 PM
In my opinion, start off with a sample from sourdo.com. Starting your own is a hit or miss proposition. Ed wood at sourdo.com scoured the world looking for great samples.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 14, 2005, 01:30:05 AM
This pie was awesome. The dough was in the fridge for 6 days. When I took the dough out of the sealed container, it had the aroma of a fine wine. I bet it could have gone another few days without a problem.  It was so light and springy. Perfectly charred on top and bottom. I posted photos of a pie from the same batch using a 3 days rise. The 6 day rise was better than the 3 day rise, mostly because I adjusted the oven temp and pie thickness. I've made a firm decision to keep the temp of the stone down to 780-790F, down from 825 that I used to use. This means the pie cooks a little slower. This one took 2:40, but it seems to be working better overall.

Now that I've perfected the crust I've been working on my sauce more. It's tasting much better but I still would love to know what Johnny's does to make their sauce so amazing. I did a side by side taste test with Cento vs Escalon. Cento won hands down.

I'm getting better at balancing the exact right amount of moisture and as a result I'm not needing the underlying layer of sliced dry cheese that I sometimes put under the sauce (in addition to the fresh mozz). This pie is fresh mozz only.  You can see from the color that I used fresh mozzarella from 2 different batches. Both were excellent though. The cheese breakdown problem has been solved.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 14, 2005, 01:44:22 AM
I've updated my page. The new site also has a lot of new details on my procedure.

I have made some improvements to the recipe spreadsheet too. You can download from my page.


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dankfoot on April 14, 2005, 09:24:17 AM
Question?

I have been making pizza for about two years now. I have always just dumped a small pack of yeast in the dough before kneading. I think the pack of yeast is like 2 1/2 teaspoons in volume.

After looking at pftaylors recipe post #211 it says use 1/8 teaspoon.

Have I been using to much yeast the whole time? Does that change the flavor?

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 14, 2005, 09:38:35 AM
Varasano, one question, you said you kept the dough in the frig for 6 days. Whenever I go past my 12 hour period the dough pushes the lids off the containers, and I have to push them back down. Did you run into this problem or how do you store your dough, zip lock bag?? just wondering. Also I'm amazed that the dough was usable after this period of time, does'nt your yeast exhaust its leavening power??
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 14, 2005, 11:16:04 AM
MTPIZZA,

If you will take a look at Alton Brown's dough recipe at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,218.msg1597.html#msg1597, you will note that he talks about a dough life that can go beyond 6 days. But in his case, he adds a fair amount of sugar and also a fair amount of salt. In fact, he has been criticized for the large amount of salt in his original recipe. The sugar should help extend the dough's useful life by feeding the yeast, and the salt, especially in large amounts, will slow down the fermentation process and possibly help extend the useful life of the dough for that reason also.

I know that Jeff doesn't use sugar in his recipe, so I will let him speak for himself. However, Iam coming to believe that using a preferment has something to do with it. Maybe the natural yeast has a slower metabolism than commercial yeast. dankfoot, in an earlier post today, raised a question about using small amounts of yeast, e.g., 1/8 t. Recently, I used about 1/6 of 1/8 t. IDY (2/100 of an ounce), and it worked out surprisingly well, although I did also use a preferment. In the past, I have also used small amounts of yeast, as little as 1/8 t., for a high-gluten flour dough, but I allowed the dough to rise (at room temperature) all day, from morning until evening. Temperature is also a big factor in the duration of fermentation. For every 15 degrees F increase in temperature, the rate of fermentation doubles. In fact, of all the technical service calls the General Mills Bakery Flours Group receives from pizza operators, 80% of them involve issues related to dough temperature.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 14, 2005, 03:59:21 PM
Hmmm... I have to say that I disagree that adding sugar will extend the life of the yeast. The yeast feed on the flour, which is a carbohydrate, same as the sugar. Swapping one for the other doesn't seem to add to the total amount of usable food. But I have not tested this. I use no sugar ever.  The relatively high salt content, along with the cold of the fridge is all that it takes. The dough stops feeding more because it's alcohol content is rising and it's acidity is changing, more than because it's out of food. The dough is more or less self regulating. It grows fast at first, but after a day it slows down as the waste products build.  The dough hardly rose at all for the entire 6 days. It looked no different than it did after the first day.

Look at this photo. It's a "what NOT to do photo":

(http://www.think2020.com/jv/Dough/DSC00416.JPG)

This was posted on my page a long time ago. This dough is WAY over risen and the final product ends up falling and becoming too dense. This might seem counter intuitive. But you should experiment with shortening the warm rise period and letting the dough only do a warm rise for an hour or two max. This will result in a LIGHTER final pizza, so long as you are using a very wet dough.  The logic here is that the yeast is only partially responsible for the air holes in the final dough. Much of the puffyness and spring comes from the steam that is generated from a wet dough.  If the dough has only risen a bit, the gluten structure is in good shape and the steam will push out and generate well structured air holes during baking. On the other hand, if the yeast has risen the dough a lot, the gluten has been stretched and is thin. When you stretch the dough into a pie, the walls of the bubbles are overstretched and weak and they collapse. The steam escapes too and the pie ends up dense.  If your dough is windowpaning very well, like mine is:

(http://www.think2020.com/jv/Dough/DSC00698.JPG)

then this will also allow the dough to stretch without collapsing the gluten bubbles.

Light dough:
- Autolyse properly, carefully following the instructions from my main page
- Great windowpaning (great kneading)
- Wet dough
- modest rise

Dense dough:
- Poor keanding
- dry dough
- overrise
- refridgerating dough that has already risen (warm rise, then chill, which collapses the bubbles)

I keep the dough in 3 cup plastic container s (as shown above)

I used 1/2 teaspoon IDY for a 1300g dough.  This is fairly minimal. I used over 200g of poolish. The total hydration was probably about 64%, but I didn't measure it.

Read my main page again, because I cover most of this and my steps have been tightened up. I really feel like I'm all the way home. After 6 years of my guest saying "It's great" and me saying "no it could be so much better", I've finally come across all the steps I need. The pie above is every bit as light, tasty charred and flavorful as a Patsy's pie. It could go head to head in a taste test.

http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 14, 2005, 06:39:57 PM
The yeast will feed off of simple sugars (mainly maltose) converted by the action of amylase enzymes in the flour (natural or added) that work on the damaged starch molecules in the flour. Under normal circumstances, there will be enough natural sugar converted to feed the yeast so that the dough can be used within 2 to 3 days without requiring a boost from the addition of extra sugar (usually sucrose) to the recipe. In some cases, the dough might go even longer, but this can also depend on a variety of other factors, such as the amount of salt, the temperature and consistency of temperature to which the dough is exposed (e.g., room temperature vs. retardation), the degree of hydration, duration of warmup time, etc. It is the ability to manage all of these variables, as well as the dough formation process, that will to a great degree dictate the final outcome of the dough and the period of its usability.

It is common practice to add sugar to a dough recipe when it is desired that the dough go beyond 48 hours before using. Part of the addition of the sugar can be to assure browning of the crust but it is also to feed the yeast. My practice is not to use sugar in my dough recipes, but that is because I normally don't let my doughs go beyond 48 hours and I bake my pizzas on a stone and too much sugar can cause premature bottom browning.

Tom Lehmann frequently responds to questions about adding sugar to dough recipes. His basic NY style dough recipe doesn't specifically call for sugar, but he recommends adding some if good crust browning is desired (and especially if pizza screens are to be used) or the dough is to go out several days. Here are a couple excerpts from some of his advice on this matter:

"...doughs made with 2 to 3% sugar will hold up quite well for up to 72 hours in the cooler, while those made without sugar are probably best if not held more than 48 hours in the cooler."

"The sugar helps the crust to begin browning and it also provides a nutrient for the yeast to feed upon if you elect to hold your dough for several days in the cooler as it is common to do."

Peter




Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 14, 2005, 10:25:54 PM
I got the theory. But the practice is that I've routinely allowed my doughs to go 4-5 days and in this case 6, with no problems and no sugar. In fact, this dough was incredible and I'm sure it could have gone longer.  Far from saying that 48 hours is max for no-sugar doughs, on my site I recommend 24-48 hours as a minimum, with 3-4 days as the basic standard.

A larger determining factor is the kind of yeast. Since I'm using a starter and each starter is different, the rules have to be adjusted.  I do use baker's yeast, but only in small quantities.

I strongly recommend that people work on finding an appropriate way to get enough oven heat and figure out how to knead and mix their dough, rather than put things like sugar and oil and malt into their dough. The more they waste time on these things the more distratcted they will be from reproducing a true Patsy's pie. This thread is all about reproducing Patsy's pizza. It was started after I posted up in January that I had more or less already achieved that goal (after 6 years) and I laid out all of the steps for doing so. PfTaylor did many, many experiments and took council from a dozen people (including Jose at Patsy's), but in the end his most successful recipe is almost a clone of what I originally posted. And I think he will come still further towards my recipe as he works out the few remaining issues. Compare the latest sets of photos....

Trust me Danielsan...

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 14, 2005, 10:46:13 PM
Jeff,

I think we are basically in agreement. I think it is safe to say that using a preferment and little commercial yeast is a different animal than a NY style dough leavened entirely by commercial yeast. I speculated in my earlier reply to MTPIZZA that a preferment may have a slower metabolism. If so, that could cause a dough to have a longer usable life by slowing things down. I think that that is also part of the theory behind Neapolitan doughs that can tolerate long fermentation/ripening times except that the fermentation/ripening is at room temperature. In one of the Caputo pies I made, the total period was close to 40 hours or something quite close to that. All at room temperature. Most doughs made with commercial yeast can't go anywhere near that long at room temperature.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 16, 2005, 08:23:51 AM
It's good to be back.

After reading the new posts in this thread, a few comments are in order. First, Varasano is quite correct in his statement about how I experimented with all sorts of procedures and ingredient combinations in an all-out effort to faithfully recreate a Patsy's pizza at home. I never had, and still don't have, any bias for how to achieve that elusive goal. Which is why I'm so open to trying new approaches. It helps me understand the impact of each aspect of the formula.

Last summer, I bought a grill for almost $2,000 for that express purpose. I knew the TEC grill was capable of achieving an 800 degree bake and 800 degrees were the reported temperature Patsy's baked their pies at. I assidiously began an effort in the second half of last year to determine how a Patsy's pie was made and what steps were required to do so at home. All of that research and effort led me to this site in December of last year.

When Varasano joined in January, he was clearly closer to the goal of a true Patsy's pie at home. The approach I used was to leverage off of my family recipe. Pete-zza came along and opened my eyes as to a scientific approach to solving the Patsy's riddle. From that point on, it was only a matter of time before I would eventually get there because I then had a framework for success. What I didn't realize at the time was that Pete-zza set the stage for the missing element in my approach. I already had passion in spades but I lacked the scientific approach necessary to achieve true greatness. I've often stated my belief that pizza making is a 50/50 proposition of passion and discipline or art and science. It takes both to get to the plane I'm after.

Varasano and I began collaborating almost immediately due to our shared interests. The result of the collaboration effort, along with help from many others, has been documented in this thread. We still have differences in how we recreate our version of a true Patsy's pizza. I use a grill, Varasano uses a tweaked oven. I use a regular stand mixer, Varasano uses a DLX. I use much less preferment (8% vs 40%). I use twice the amount of salt. I also use a simplified mixing procedure - likely due to the differences in mixers. I also use vastly different ingredients. Varasano likes using bread flour or even AP, I wouldn't be caught dead with either. I am truly a believer in high gluten flour.

The point of all of this however is the fact that we are both at the stage where we know how good our pies are. I'm pretty sure we are both utterly convienced that our pies taste just like Patsy's. Varasano still needs a lot of clarification in his posted recipe for others to try it. I'm not sure anyone without a DLX could recreate his high level of success. It's not specific enough at this point. Exact weights, volumes, and baker's percentages would have to be offered first. But it works for him which is all that matters.

My Patsy's version, in my humble opinion, tastes like what Patsy's could taste like had they not decided to make pizza on the cheap. It simply is the logical end point expression of a true NY style pizza. Of course, it is expressed in a manner which makes it probable to reproduce in a home setting with ingredients that elevate it to it's high standard. I like to think that it is the artisan version of second generation pizza in this country.

The goal of recreating Patsy's pizza has been accomplished a few weeks back for me. When I came back from NY, I managed to make the final changes necessary to fullfill that dream. But something happened along the way which has changed who I am as it relates to making pizzas. I actually surpassed Patsy's in the art of making a great tasting pie. Patsy's initially represented an ideal. Now it stands as a static point in my evolution of making pizzas. It's an interesting type of pizza due to the coal oven but nothing much more than that.

It's sad really. I know it sounds boastful to make such a claim however, it is evident in my formula. Try it for yourself and you will see. How do I know that my pie is better than Jose's? Well, it is afterall a somewhat qualitative statement isn't it. But the truth of the matter is that quality is not an opinion. Quality is a fact at least when it comes to ingredients. The ingredients used by Patsy's borders on being shameful. If Patsy's still used quality ingredients then I may never have diverted my pursuit of the perfect pie. But they did and so I did. I now find it incompatible with who I am to want to make a pie with such low standards as Patsy's. I cannot compromise my standards.

I am now well past the goal of making a Patsy's type pie (which I consider to be just like the other 63,000 pizza joints in the US with the notable addition of a coal oven). I am now in pursuit of the passion for pizza which apparently exists in only a handful of establishments. Il Pizzaiolo, Una Pizza Napoletana, Al Forno, and Pizzaeria Bianco come to mind.

Other than at Mel Gibson's house, I can't think of anyone who has more passion for pizza than the list above. I want in that group.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 16, 2005, 11:10:02 AM
A few quick clarifications:

I use almost the same amount of salt. When I posted my site I was not using baker's percents so my 1% of total dough weight  was closer to 2% when expressed as baker's percents. I'd typically use 12g for a 1000-1100g dough, which is just 600-700g of flour (thus 2% as a baker's %)

Regarding the flour type. I think if you experiment you will find that the high gluten is not adding ANYWHERE near the structure that most on this site think it does. The gluten DEVELOPMENT is much more important the that starting gluten %. KA Bread flour is a high quality flour.  The mixing technique is most of the game. It took me years to realize this.

Regarding the % of preferment. Lately, I'm thinking that the starting percent is not that important and that even a wide swing like we have would not affect the overall result all that much. When I begin feeding cycles of the starter it begins after a while to start peaking.  When it is at a high level of activity I begin making enough quantity to mix into my dough. When the culture is highly active it only takes 2-3 hours after a feeding to begin bubbling over.  So when I mix 40% of preferment into the dough, the reality is that most of the flour in the starter was introduced just a few hours before.  In other words, if I started with your 8% and it was cresting and adding a bunch of flour and water and waited 3 hours, I'd have my 40%. In the 2-3 day lifecyle of the dough, these differences are nominal. Baker's yeast does not really survive perpetually. So the starting amount is more important. But since the starter just doubles and doubles as long as it has the right conditions, the starting amount is not critical. With 40% preferment the dough will turn highly alcoholic and acidic more quickly, but then these changes cause growth to slow to a crawl.  With 8% the initial growth period is longer, but once the acidity level rises, it slows too. So after 2 or 3 days, the two samples are probably identical.  It's possible that they are identical in just a few hours, especially since the lactobacilli (which contribute much of the flavor) are not slowed down much in the fridge.. It's the yeast that slows.  My lastest batch was probably less than 25% preferment and it made no difference whatsoever compared to my normal 40%.

This probably deserves a rigorous test.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 16, 2005, 01:21:18 PM
Varasano,
I have made a batch of dough this morning to test out the theory that a small amount of OO may not be necessary. The 20 minute autolyse appeared to be helpful in this regard. The Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer had a little difficulty mixing the dough which had previously not been the case. I am hopeful the removal of OO will not affect the ultra-high dough performance I have experienced recently. Time will tell.

I would also like to make a couple of points about my use of high gluten flour versus your use of AP and/or bread flour. I have no quibble with your position about gluten development - you and pizzanapoletana have made me a believer that flour has an optimal absorption rate. The use of autolyse during and immediately after the mixing period has greatly benefited the elasticity and extensibility of my dough.

I use high gluten flour for a couple of reasons. First, I believe in using the highest percentage of protein available. If I could get my hands on a 20% protein flour I would. The reason for this is based upon dietary concerns which I have elaborated on extensively in the past. It revolves around trying to get to a 40% - 30% - 30% macro-nutrient balance (Carbs, Proteins, Fats). High gluten flour is currently the flour which most meets this personal requirement.

Next, I'm not sure, based upon your posted pictures, if the crust structure has anywhere near the performance characteristics that would be capable with a high gluten based flour. I would be interested if you could share with us how robust your typical dough holds up with respect to facets such as elasticity, extensibility and rip-ability. Also, how does a finished slice perform in areas like spring, tip droop, foldability, flexibility, crunchiness and general handling properties like sogginess after cooling down and its ability to taste great and retain the majority of it's original properties even after reheating. I can gather that from an extensibility standpoint your dough has that and then some. I have read a number of your posts where you describe your dough as being buttery soft. I have made buttery soft dough in the past and in my experience it wasn't as robust as what I am currently producing. Not even close.

From the pictures posted, your crust seems to be much softer than what I'm able to achieve with a high gluten based recipe. This is a big point for me since I cherish a crispy bottom veneer. I like all the crunch I can get and my experience has been that higher protein levels help somewhat in this regard. Extreme heat also plays a role but taken in it's totality, I remain unconvinced as to your central point that AP type flours are the very equal of high gluten. However, I am open to a full discussion on this point. Pictures would be helpful. I know I have posted numerous pictures documenting the high performance features of the crust I have been able to create.

I started this journey with AP flour. I then went with bread flour since it was available in my local supermarket. I then went with high gluten and I can tell you that each time I upgraded flours, the end result got noticeably better. The crust was more competent each and every time.

Coincidence? Could be, but I'm willing to bet that if you were to try KASL- and take the time to master it, as you have with bread flour that you very well may reach the same conclusion.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 16, 2005, 06:50:43 PM
I have some KASL here and I will try it in May.   Let us know how the no OO test goes.

On the other points, I will let my photos speak for themselves...


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 17, 2005, 01:01:43 PM
Today I managed to produce not one but two stunning pies.

Those were the humble compliments laid at my feet by my entire family and in particular my teenage son. I feel blessed. They were both real beauties. Everything you'd want in a pizza. One true-blue American. The other an Italian bombshell. I call them Pizza Raquel and Pizza Sophia.

Pizza Raquel, photgraphed in this thread, was made with the standard KASL based recipe listed in this thread only without the addition of OO. Frankly, the taste was indistinguishable from the normal result. I suppose the current formula has such a miniscule amount of OO that it had a negligible effect on the overall taste anyway. I had recommended its use as a way to enhance the operation of a standard home mixer, such as a Kitchen Aid. My Artisan mixer had a slightly more difficult time without the oil. But who knows, maybe it ended up kneading the dough a little more as an unintended result. Stretching, elasticity and extensibility were apparently unaffected. In the end, I guess a teaspoon really isn't a lot (split between two pies).

In fact, I had a very difficult time discerning any meaningful taste difference between Pizza Raquels' produced with and without OO. There were other differences however. Perhaps the Pizza Raquel produced today without the oil was the slightest bit crunchier though somewhat less pliable. Also, visually it appeared to not char as well on top but appeared to char at least as well on the bottom if not even better. I can honestly say I have no preference between Raquel with or without OO. I would need to cook the WO OO Raquel a little longer (without burning the bottom) to see if the top would char a little more before I would be willing to say otherwise. Here is an interesting point. When I used a teaspoon of OO, the top was slightly overcooked relative to the bottom. Today's Raquel, with no OO, showed the bottom slightly overcooked relative to the top. The pendulum has swung, has it not? So it appears that the riddle of the "perfect relative bake" lies somewhere inbetween 1/2 teaspoon of oil per pie and none. One wouldn't think such a small amount could have such an impact. But kindly review the history of photographs I've posted and you'll notice the relative bake trend I refer to.

The second pie, Pizza Sophia, had superior crust taste and is described in the main Caputo thread. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out why Pizza Sophia has such a flavorful crust. Each pie was made to the same exacting specifications. The only rational explanation is the Italian flour must be superior somehow. I can't put my finger on it but the taste difference was quite noticeable.

Here are the pictures of the pepperoni & salami version of Pizza Raquel without the addition of OO.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 17, 2005, 06:52:37 PM
A couple more of Pizza Raquel...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on April 17, 2005, 08:30:19 PM
Well Done.

I am also happy when someone get to a conclusion by experimenting rather then reading.

On the "flavorful crust":

I have compared the Caputo Pizzeria flour against many other flours, italian and not, and The caputo's is indeed on another level...

Ciao
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 17, 2005, 08:33:13 PM
Nice pics...my eyes enjoyed every bite!!!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 18, 2005, 07:54:58 AM
MTPIZZA,
Your candid feedback is always appreciated.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 18, 2005, 12:14:31 PM
Varasano,
Tonight I will make a batch of dough where I intend to use a 48+ hour cold rise. One question; how long of a counter rise do you use?

I generally use a 1-2 hour counter rise after refrigeration.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 19, 2005, 06:21:09 PM
Here are shots of the second batch without oil added. The crust actually handled better than the first batch for some reason. I took extra shots of the foldability. Oh and by the way, keep your eye out for my first satisfied customer...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 19, 2005, 06:22:08 PM
Here is the apple of my eye and my first satisfied customer...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 20, 2005, 01:16:02 AM
pftaylor, pizzas look great as usual, your daughter is quite lucky :)

I decided to give your recipe and kneading/handling procedure a go. I followed the instructions in this post to a t. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg10410.html#msg10410 as my reference. Its interesting how much of a difference an autolyse makes. The dough felt wetter than previous dough I had made with higher hydration percentages. Also, this dough was amazing to handle. It felt like I couldn't tear this dough if I tried. I streched 10 oz dough balls into 14 inch skins, but felt like I could have easily taken it up to 16 or 17. The end result was quite tasty, particularly for a first try. I made more dough today, it looked better than my first, so we will so how it goes. I also want to experiment with different fermentation times. The dough in the photo was refridgerated for about 18 hours and then left on the counter for two hours before shaping.

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_041905/patsys1.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_041905/patsys2.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_041905/patsys3.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_041905/patsys4.jpg)
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 20, 2005, 05:37:37 AM
The results are starting to be tabulated and initial reports of the Pizza Raquel dough are encouraging. So far Wayno, Pete-zza, and duckjob have all had considerable success.

duckjob, a special thank you for your kind words about my daughter. She thinks it is so cool that her dad makes what she calls a "kid food." Funny how we all see the world through our own eyes isn't it? Your pizza looks delicous. The char is worthy. I wonder how it tasted and if you would comment on the level of difficulty of following the recipe - exactly. And if in your mind the results are worth it.

A few words are in order about the ultra high performance of the dough. I realize how I have droned on about it's superior handling capability. Now that independent results are beginning to verify the authenticity of my claim I feel somewhat bolstered by the duplicatibility of the recipe. It's one thing for the originator to post images and numerous updates like an incessant gadfly about his success. But it is quite another when well meaning pizza makers can achieve a high level of success as well.

Here is a fact, if one were to follow the mixing and stretching instructions exactly (I don't mean mostly, I mean perfectly) you will then have a much higher quality dough than ever imagined. My dough is now nearly unrippable. It displays exceptional handling traits in every possible facet. It is quite simply the pinnacle of all dough in my biased personal opinion. With perhaps one exception. Flavor.

I still feel as if I can coax out more flavor from the dough by using a longer fermentation period or by using Caputo Pizzeria flour with or without a longer fermentation period. The Caputo is that much better than the KASL in the flavor department. The point is simply this; the recipe contained in this thread will produce a most competent dough in every single dimension which deserves measurement. What are you waiting for?

Just a gentle reminder, please do not skip any step of the recipe. Read every word and sentence. Follow the sequence of events exactly. They are there for a very good reason. Execute flawlessly and you will be rewarded. My daughter asked me last night a simple question: "Dad, if I follow your directions can I make pizza like you?" I replied with a resounding "Yes you can!" Pizza making doesn't have quite as much gravitas as I originally thought after that quick exchange.

I look forward to learning more about the forum's use of this dough.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 20, 2005, 07:02:23 AM
forgive me it this has been discussed in the past but...where can I obtain Caputo flour in PA... does one buy it through the internet??? Sams' club??? any help would be appreciated...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: ilpizzaiolo on April 20, 2005, 08:33:00 AM
in Pitttsburgh, PA you can get 25kilo of caputo from pennsylvania macaroni company...  412 471 8330 . They also sel Bel Aria in 1kilo.. don't be tempted... the bel aria won't do the same thing.... good luck
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 20, 2005, 01:48:34 PM
Thanks for the kind words pftaylor. I did follow your steps to a T, and it is absolutely worth it. All it takes is a little extra time. On top of the superior handling, it also happened to be one of the better tasting doughs I have made. It was chewy, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. I am anxious to give it another try with a preferment. I am using KASL, but I would love to try Caputo's. You've got a gem here pftaylor.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 20, 2005, 05:35:43 PM
I would say that a 80-120 min counter rise is right, but there have been times when I've been surprised and found that it didn't rise much in that time and had to go longer. But you don't need a huge rise, as I've posted about. Try this and see how it works. I'm making a dough tonight for Sunday pizza's and i'm using the KASL for the first time (I'm out of the bread and too lazy to go to the store, LOL). What's all the buzz about Caputo. Which Caputo is the one I should try (if I ever get enough time in my life to try these things)?

Just one comment on this KASL vs Bread flour issue.  I never said that Bread was better than KASL and in fact said that it might turn out that KASL was better. BUT I did want to stress that overall the technique, such as the hydration and autolyse were really the important thing and needed to be learned and that great pizza could in fact be made with Bread or even AP. I know the ingredients are a factor, but if you compare (KASL + Bad technique) - [which frankly I saw a lot of on this board] vs. (AP + good technique), it's no contest. The technique is FAR, FAR, FAR more important. I continue to experiment with both technique and ingredients as I have for years, but my experience tells me the technique is 90%. I wouldn't use junk, but all King Arthur products are good.  I actually started with the basic assumption that Patsy's probably did NOT use the highest quality ingredients. Too expensive. I never thought they use San Marzano tomatoes, for example. I knew they would use a restaurant supply product not a boutique gourmet product. Yet their pizza was 1000 times better than mine for a long time. Why?  It had to be technique or some other factor.  I have no problem experimenting with all kinds of products. If you check out my recent page for example you will see all tomatoes I've tried (these are just the ones I remember). People I respect, like Ed Wood, have really opened my eyes to the technique issue. He's a master bread maker and a perfectionist, yet he uses AP. It is not a 'cheap' ingredient. It's just got a different profile.  I wouldn't even have tried it if he hadn't talked about the difference in the gluten developement vs the starting gluten %. On my site you see how much I stress technique down to very fine details. The other reason that I went to AP was that in the Kitchen Aid mixer, the AP did better than bread and I imagine that going the other way towards KASL would have been very hit and miss in the Kitchen Aid mixer.  Of course, now I know that I probably could have overcome that with autolyse and gradual adding of flour etc. But at the time I though the only work around was a new mixer. I still think the DLX is far superior, but as I've said, could probably get the KA to work now, whereas I couldn't before (not to this quality). When I look at other photos, (for example of Lehman doughs), and read the related threads, I see people obsessing over ingredients and percentages, etc. But, honestly, the photos on most of those threads are not impressive. It reminds me so much of my computer experiences. I see developers go crazy arguing with me because I use some component that some magazine says is slow. Yet overall my systems are 10 times faster than theirs. Yikes... I tend to take a much more holistic approach to engineering a solution. Same with my rubik's cube solution.  I did many things that others thought were wrong, yet I set the U.S. record.  We all have assumptions but I tend to be more willing than most to drop the common wisdom and try something opposite and see what happens.  The bottom line is that I hope that the KASL or Caputo ARE better because then I can improve even more. But my recent pies are as good as some of the old Patsy's and they were using bread for all the reasons stated. So all I'm trying to do is get people to think about the problem differently. It's not about an ingredient list, in my opinion. It's a whole approach. The ingredients are just one small part.

pft, Just got back from the Garnter summit.  I was nominated for best presentation which is pretty good considering we only paid to present to 2 groups (the winner presented to 18 groups so they got more votes). We really did get more buzz than I think anyone else there. Everyone was talking about the cube, LOL...

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 20, 2005, 06:52:21 PM
pft, one quick note about my recent sauce experiments. I've found that having sauce that's a little more hydrated makes it more sweet. This is strange to me because you sweeten whole tomatoes by oven drying them for example. But my tests are consistent. For a while my sauce was too dry (I strain the water) and this caused a lack of sweetness and occasional spot burning on top. I see your pies have an occasional spot burn on top too, so I thought I'd share this.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 20, 2005, 08:24:02 PM
Varasano,
Good job with the cube. One heck of a marketing idea. Judging by some of the photographs on your site it works with the ladies too. Powerful.

Regarding sauce, I have not had my regular San Marzano sauce for 45 days. I have had to resort to some type of Full Red sauce which is dry and pretty much a stop gap. Tonight I ran out of full red and out of desperation I made a Quattro Formaggio Bianco Pizza Raquel. Mutz, Parm, Romano, and Ricotta. For being my initial white pie effort it was pretty good. The crust was illustrious, light, and handled like a Porche in a tight corner.

The dough fermented in the fridge for 48 hours. I tasted more flavor without a loss of handling. So, as my son would say  "Sounds like it was a good thing."

Another good thing appears to be stripping out the oil. I have not had too bad of a time mixing the dough without it and I can't find a downside other than it browns and chars a little differently.

Therefore I'll revise the recipe to exclude the oil for those that can mix it effectively. Call it Bare Raquel if you will. I also am an advocate of process and procedure being more important than ingredients. You can buy a higher quality ingredient but it won't matter unless you nail the prep and stretch steps. I have accomplished that goal. If you notice, the Pizza Raquel recipe is 4/5th's process and 1/5th ingredients.

You could have made my life a lot easier a few months ago if you had bakers percentages and specific quantities and weights on your site as you do now. Back then all you had were statements like "add some flour to some water."

What the heck was that? No one could follow that logic except you so I'm glad you increased the level of specificity recently. I still probably would have experimented to prove to myself what works but I'm sure I could have been a few weeks further down the road otherwise. If you remember, I tried Il Pizzaiolo's recommended recipe on the first page of this thread where no oil was listed either. It didn't work at the time because I wasn't employing the proper technique. It was a long and frustrating road but I figured it out with the help of you and others.

Oh, and I found my second satisfied customer. I just wished they were paying...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 20, 2005, 08:25:03 PM
Here is my son enjoying a slice...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 20, 2005, 08:55:51 PM
A simplified Pizza Raquel recipe without the oil:

                                        Pizza Raquel - Everything You'd Want (except the oil)                                                     
[/u] [/b]             
 
Weight                                  Volume                               Description                   Bakers Percent
16   oz/  456  Grams      3 1/3 cups                                   KASL High Gluten Flour                   100%     
9.6  oz/  273  Grams      1 1/8 cups or 9 fluid oz               Water                                                60%     
.01  oz/ .285  Grams         1/8 teaspoon (baker's pinch)   Instant Dry Yeast                         .0625%     
.32  oz/  9.1   Grams      2 1/4 teaspoon                           Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                    2%
1.3  oz/  37    Grams      2  tablespoons (heaping)            Preferment (I use Varasano)              8% 
27.23oz/775.385 Grams

Produces two dough balls weighing 13 - 14oz (enough for two 15" - 16" pizzas). If you do not have a preferment simply add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of IDY.

Mandatory Preparation Steps
1 - Stir water and salt with spoon/whisk until dissolved in stand mixer bowl.
2 - Add approximately half the flour first, then the yeast. Fit stand mixer with hook attachment.
3 - Mix 30 seconds on stir to incorporate yeast.
4 - Add preferment.
5 - Mix 1 minute on stir to incorporate preferment.
6 - 20 minute autolyse. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP (or you will die painfully).
7 - Mix on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually over the 5 minute mix.
8 - Mix on 2/3 for 5 minutes.
9 - Check dough temperature with digital thermometer; it should be 80 degrees at the hook.
10 15 minute autolyse. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP (or you will die really painfully and slowly).
11 Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area.
12 Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, place dough into bowls, cover with shower caps.
13 Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for 24+ hours.
14 On the following day(s), remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Note: Do not punch down, reform balls, or do anything to the dough other than let it warm to room temperature.

Mandatory Stretching Steps 
1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well. Dust prep area with flour.
2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Keep well dusted.
3 - Press fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 10 inches round. Keep well dusted.
4 - Place hands palm down inside rim and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round.
5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"+/-
6 - Pat excess flour off skin. Place on floured peel and dress with favorite toppings.
7 - Peel dressed skin into preheated oven (1 hr+ at max temp) outfitted with tiles.
8 - Bake until lightly or heavily charred (more flavor).
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: D.C. Pizza Master on April 20, 2005, 10:43:48 PM
pft...your pizza's are beginning to resemble the Pizza Classica found from central to northern italy..im impressed man...those look nice and thin......i see your using caputo blue..thats what i use but only in a small amount..i use it because i like the color it gives to the pizza and because it give the dough some elastic pull to it which i like...but it lacks in giving a crispy or flavorable crust IMO...try blending it with the King Arthur and see what happens
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 20, 2005, 10:53:23 PM
Hey pft,

Your pies look great.

>What the heck was that?
That's what I do, LOL... I'm a firm believer that you have to learn to feel the dough because the hydration needs may change based on humidity and mixing variances.  But I could have given a tighter range to start with ;-)

Actually, aside from the measurements, I have a lot of detailed instructions. Mixing, oven, cheese, sauce, suppliers, etc.

Regarding the flattening procedure. I'd advise making a good rim up front, before flattening into a pancake.

(http://www.think2020.com/jv/Dough/DSC00502.JPG)


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 21, 2005, 07:04:32 AM
Ok so between varasano and pft....one of the main differences AFTER the dough is made properly with autolyse is that varasano matures the dough OUTSIDE of a frig....and pft has a frig rest....Jeff pointed out on my pics that I had let the proofing go too long thus the yeast had overfermented. I'm going to try a basement rise where its cool not cold and no frig rise ...long and slow and not too much yeast or starter in the mix and see what happens with the pie by way of flavor and eye appeal..
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 21, 2005, 07:34:13 AM
DC PM,
Nice of you to weigh in on my humble efforts. I always appreciate the trained eye of a professional. I will soon order the KA Special and try to see what makes your pies so delicious. I must say that the Caputo Pizzeria 00 flour has produced the single most flavorful pizza crust I have ever personally consumed. If Special is better than that, then I cannot wait.

MTPIZZA,
I'll let Varasano clarify his fermentation process but from what I remember he uses a cold rise period as well. I do not perceive a difference between this portion of my method and his.

So far I've fermented dough for up to two days in the fridge with no adverse affects. Varasano recommends up to six days.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dankfoot on April 21, 2005, 09:00:43 AM
DC PM, pftaylor,

What is KA Special?  IS that the blend of durum and AP? "pizza blend"

Thanks,
Chris
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 21, 2005, 03:33:20 PM
MTPIZZA, after mixing I let the dough sit at room temp for 15 min then it goes into the fridge for a minimumn of 24 hours, with  3-4 days common.  My last pie was 6 days and could clearly have gone longer. Marco (pizzanapoletana) uses a room temp rise for 24 hours. No cold rise.

KA Bread flour is labeled "Special"
http://shop.bakerscatalogue.com/detail.jsp?id=3001&pv=1114110503755
This is was I usually use, although I'm trying the Sir Lancelot today.


This is the "pizza blend".  I wouldn't touch it:
http://shop.bakerscatalogue.com/detail.jsp?id=3295&pv=1114111012500
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 21, 2005, 10:33:09 PM
Ok, I made my first KASL batch.  I realize that unfortunately my scale has problems (two 500g balls together weigh 992, etc.)  Therefore I can't give completely accurate measures.

However, I was no where close to 60% hydration.  My best guess, given my scale problems is:
KASL (100%)
Water (66%)
IDY (0.25%)
Salt (2%)

My starter was 25% but those numbers are rolled in 50/50 into the flour and water columns.

The dough was pretty wet, but I have no idea how I could have sqeeze enough flour into the dough to bring it down to 60% hydration.  Maybe another point or 2, but that would be it, then it would be a brick. pft, the way (I think) you are counting the starter is separate.  So if you roll the 3% starter 50/50 into the 2 flour and water categories you get about 61.5% hydration.  From you photos I'd even guess you starter is more than 50% water (It's wetter than mine).  Anyway, considering that, then my hydration is not too far from yours, but still I don't see how I could have gotten much more in there. Hmmm...

One thing we never discussed is post mixing hydration changes. There's always some condensation inside the storage container.  Sometimes balls give off water and it beads on the side. This reduces the hydration somewhat in the first couple of hours in the fridge.  A long time ago I experimented with drying out the containers periodically, thus reducing the hydration.  I figured that many real pizzerias are using a proofer which is humidity controlled and therefore stabilized the hydration at a fixed level regardless of the hydration when the dough comes out of the mixer.  In the end though not much came of these experiments. These balls have given off a bit more water than usual, so maybe I could have gotten more flour in there than I thought.

The dough balls felt smooth and were very well blistered. Perhaps a little firmer than the bread flour. Usually the bread flour dough is only firm if it's very dry. This was wet but still firm.  Not too much difference but it was noticable.

Another thing we never discussed is the state of the starter as it relates to the dough. This starter was fed yesterday and brought to near peak but then I was too tired to make a batch so I put it back in the fridge overnight. This morning I gave it a tiny bit more food and left it on the counter and it peaked. But the the starter is a bit different now because most of the flour has been in with the yeast for a long time and so it's fermenting already. You can really smell the difference between today and yesterday. The dough was made 5 hours ago but already smells fermented and might not need as much time in the fridge now because it, in essence, got a head start.

I'm babbling.... but I'm just I'm just pointing out a few things.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 23, 2005, 08:37:00 PM
Varasano,
Based on your bakers percentages we are making two entirely different pizzas. They may end up tasting remarkably similar however it appears our approaches share some commonality but little else. I'm not sure the best way to close this apparent gap other than to say when I get back from Rochester, I'll have to give your recipe a shot. I'm still not sure however, that anyone other than a DLX owner can give you honest-to-goodness legitimate feedback on your recipe. A few weeks ago I suggested you temporarily revert to the dreaded Kitchen-Aid but I guess you don't like riding a bicycle to the pizza parlor.

The preferment refreshment approach I have been using is a 50/50 blend of water and flour by weight. Therefore, the overall hydration level of Pizza Raquel is a lot closer to 60% (60.36% to be exact) than to 66% when you factor in the salt and commercial yeast.

Our mixing process appears generally similar. But even here your stop and start mixing recommendations last a lot longer than what I've found to be ideal with the Kitchen-Aid. I would consider the differences here to be mostly due to the difference in mixers.

It took me months of picking up tidbits here and there and everywhere to develop the current mixing process. I have no doubt that the final Raquel mixing recommendation somehow (through trial and error actually) fell within the range of optimum absorption rate of water by KASL. The results are simply too robust to conclude otherwise. As a side point, the Pizza Raquel mixing steps worked just as well for Caputo Pizzeria 00 flour. So I'm pretty sure the mixing didactics are sound.

I'm not sure about any particular stretching differences (its not clear from your web site or any posts here what your complete stretching regimen is) so I'll simply address my experience in this area. In particular, after I got back from NY I began utilizing Jose's stretching methods and the quality of the dough shot through the roof. Coincidence? I don't know and I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. But suffice to say that I firmly believe in the stretching didactics I've outlined for Raquel. Combined with the robust mixing didactics, it produces a dough which is unbeatable in my biased opinion.

Oh wait. Isn't that bragging?

Nope.

Not if you can back it up. It's fact.

There. The loquacious politically correct crowd should be sufficently quelled. They can now rest easy knowing they are copying someone else's "facts" rather than boastful, ungrounded, remarks.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 23, 2005, 10:53:22 PM
I'm looking at this spreadsheet and I realize that given that I'm using 25% starter, I can't really just assume that the starter is 50/50 flour-to-water to calculate the final hydration.  I just mix it to a batter but I've never weighed the ingredients exactly.  If the batter was 55/45 for example then the final hydration was only 62.8 and not 66%.   That plus my scale problems and you can toss my numbers. I know for sure that the poolish was slightly drier than usual, but I don't have a measure of what usual is.   I fixed the spreadsheet (haven't posted the new one yet) but will have to measure again next time.

Regardless of the hydration, the dough itself felt good, blistered well and is aging nicely. I'll bake them Sunday which will be a 3 day rise. 

They smell great. Better than most. But I'm attributing this to the changes in the way I handled the culture prior to the mix. It was already smelling great before I started the dough.  I got a recent note from Marco regarding the difference between using a poolish vs a mother dough.  Unfortunately his emails are short and I can't always extract a good next step from them.  But here's what I deduced.  I THINK he's suggesting that before mixing in the starter, begin with a lower hydration that a poolish - a drier, more dough-like and more fermented mix.  By having the poolish almost peak on wed, then refrigerating it and feeding it again on Thurs (adding a tiny amount of flour but no water), it really had a much richer smell in and was a slightly drier mix.  So I may have  been closer to his recommendation almost by accident. But the aroma is telling me I might want to do this in a more directed way next time. Of course his whole procedure is different with a lower percent of starter and no cold rise.  Thinking back, I've tried some experiments in the past with a more dough-like starter,  but at the time I had not mastered the autolyse and mixing procedure so my doughs were always hit and miss and I could never isolate which fermentation process I liked best.   Now that I feel like the mixing thing is pretty much down cold, with extensible, windowpaned, soft and well hydrated dough at my command any time, I can focus more on other factors such as more exact fermenation procedures.  My last 6 day cold rise was so amazing and so much better than the 1 and 3 day rises that came out of the same batch, that it's really got me thinking about the fermenation process more than anything right now.  I've always experimented with 2,3,4 & 5 day rises, but now I can work on these in more isolation since other variables are more in control.  Since you are running many more experiments than I can, you might want to try these and post results.  In any case I would definetly recommend you simply extend the cold rise time from 1 day to 3 or 4 or more and see how you like it.

What has been your Caputo Experience?  I see a lot recently on this and I found a local supplier. Is there a difference in flavor or only in texture?  The Caputo Pizza flour is only 11.5-12.5% protein, which is even less than the KA bread and much less than that KASL. But I know it's ground differently too and probably comes from different strains of wheat.  I don't have too much time to play with both the KASL and the Caputo, unfortunately.

Regarding the stretching, with a well made windowpaning dough, the streching is a non issue. Just stretch gently and it comes right into shape no problem.  Sometimes I put the dough down for 10 seconds to rest half way, then pick it up and keep stretching. But that's about it.  Years ago when I had doughs that were elastic, rather than extensible, I used to stretch in incremental steps as you suggest.  I think that if you test you will see that the autolyse is the real factor that's made the stretching easier and not any particular stretching regime. Just like dropping the oil caused no big loss in extensibility, now that the mixing is better, I think you will find that the same is true of the stretching routine.   

Also, I had on my web page and one of my posts at one point that I mixed for no more than 11 minutes total.  I have decided to pump this recommendation back up to 15.  I'm also considering  lowering my temp recommendation again from 790 down to 780.  I've certainly had some great pies up at 825 as my first photo indicates, but lately these same high temps have been burning my bottoms. I may have continued fluctuations in this recommendation while my dough mix fluctuates.

Finally pft, I would like to try the KA mixer again, I just have limited time and energy for all these experiments. As I've said, I'm fairly confident that I could get a good get the KA to work now that I know what I'm really doing. But I have to continue to master the DLX and I encourage everyone to master the equipment they've got.  The DLX can easily make batches over 3000g (11 13" pizzas) and since I do this to entertain large parties very often, I've got to stick with it. I would not tell someone with at KA to dump it and get a DLX (although I may have said this in the past).  I would say that if you burn out a KA (which is pretty easy) or are otherwise shopping new equipment, the DLX is a no brainer. It's way, way better than the KA. But I'm pretty sure, even from the photos you've posted, that the KA can be mastered.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 24, 2005, 06:53:32 AM
Varasano,
When you have time could you kindly post what your exact recipe is so that when I get back from NY I can give it a go? I'm confused as to what your recipe really is at this point, which is why I thought your latest post was it. Sorry.

Regarding Caputo Pizzeria 00 flour, here is my view. I truly don't know what to think about it yet. In my experience, it has produced the very best and absolute worst tasting pies I've made. I have been completely humbled by its secrets and awed by its superior taste compared to KASL. It seems to be much more difficult to understand than KASL which is part of its charm. Its sort of like the girl that plays tough to get versus one that is always available and is calling you to go out. Which one is more mysterious? Which one is more desirable? You could call it a more romantic dough in a sense. The artisans tend to mix it by hand in a number of cases.

Most of the artisan shops seem to favor Caputo over high gluten flours. My sense is it has the potential to be more flavorful under the right circumstances. When combined with a preferment and the right amount of fermentation (either cold or warm) the taste is off the charts. I have found it tends to handle slightly worse than the stronger American flours. But not by much.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to substitute the Caputo for KASL and I came up a winner. I didn't announce the change to my family until after they finished eating. Their feedback matched mine, which was that the pizza was better tasting by far compared to other recent pies. They wanted to know what change I made and when I informed them that it was only the flour they collectively gasped. They couldn't believe that it was the same flour, which less than a month earlier was bitter and fishy tasting. But it was.

So in my relentless search for the ultimate artisan 2nd generation NY style pie perhaps Caputo will play a role. Then again, maybe not. Time will tell.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 25, 2005, 12:55:02 AM
5 new KASL photos are now up at the bottom of my site.

Overall the results were excellent. The differences between bread and KASL are very limited, in my opinion. I would have to try the KASL a bunch of times to see if there was more I could do with it, but this dough was well within the range of normal variance that I get from batch to batch anyway. I would not have known there was a difference in a blind taste test. But if I had to search for differences this is what I'd get:

The dough had slightly more salt than my normal batch but tasted less salty. It needed salt. The aroma of this dough was incredible. But the taste, while excellent, was not as good as the aroma.  I spoke about the difference in started technique in a post above. I think this accounted for the excellent aroma. But I think the lack of salt held back the potential improvement,

The crust may have been more chewy and less light and springy.

I'm going to try this one more time, then do the caputo pizzeria 00.

I'm not going to post for a while. I was home sick this weekend so I posted a lot, but now I've got to get back to work. I might not post up for the next few weeks.  Good luck to all.

Jeff

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: dave on April 25, 2005, 08:51:29 AM
 Could you please tell me where Mazarros is located in St Pete?  I am coming from Sarasota and cannot find it in the phone book or in a search engine.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 25, 2005, 08:59:10 AM
http://www.mazzarosmarket.com/
2909 22nd Avenue N  St. Petersburg FL  33713       Phone: 727. 321.2400  Fax: 727.327.5446
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 25, 2005, 10:38:51 PM
hey pft,

I did another batch of KASL.  This time I weighed the starter more carefully, but I see now that my scale is more problematic than I thought. This seems recent because the lights are suddenly flickering and the numbers changing.  Doh.  Anyway,  as best I can tell the numbers came out nearly identical to what you post.  I jacked up the salt alot. Marco has it at 3%, much higher than my usual. Since

Flour - 100%
Water - 60.5%
Salt - 3%
IDY - 0.25%

The starter was 20% but I rolled the numbers into the flour and water above. I made 5 doughs.  I think these numbers are largely settled.  If you try the same dough with KA Bread, I think you will find the differences nominal.  Just mix the bread flour for a few extra minutes (15 or so) and that's about it. The gluten development is basically the same. 

Have you thought about trying some different fermentation techniques now that the dough blend is pretty much settled?  If you have time, why don't you try a few with Marco's 24 hr counter rise. I tried it once and it flopped and I don't have time for too many experiments.

Do you have the Sourdo.com italian starter?  That would be a great experiment too.

I'm going to try a much lower temp pie, 725.  Lately the dough has been burning even though the temp has been lowered twice already. Happened with both flours.  I think it has to do with the different mixing procedure or hydration.  The dough is more blistered so may do do better at a lower temp because the thin spots burn easier.  So I want to try something much lower. I used to find the dough had less spring at the lower temps, but my dough has so much spring now anyway, preicely because of the excellent gluten developement, that I think I can spare some to try a lower temp.  It's worth a test.  Do you have a digital thermometer. You never give temps.


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Nathan on April 25, 2005, 11:41:53 PM
Hey not trying to interrupt but I just ordered the Italian cultures yesterday and can't wait to try them out.  I'm gonna have to do a bunch of reading on here or ask some questions before trying it though.  I haven't had anything to use or I would have tried it already and followed this stuff more closely.

I can only get my oven up to about 580 though.  I'm thinking about doing the self cleaning trick but I need to get an infrared thermometer first.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 26, 2005, 12:00:15 AM
On my page I actually have a 10 second video of what it looks like just before it goes in (my web host is down tonight though, try tomorrow).  Get Ed Wood's book along with the starter.  It's worth it.

jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on April 26, 2005, 03:26:17 AM
I had a little mishap with one of my starters.  Maybe I thought these thigs were a little more robust than they are.  Here is what happened.

I started the Ischia culture just as the directions say.  89 degree proofing container, everything looked great.  When I got to my third feeding I thought I saw some action in there but VERY minimal, and was off to work.  I got home from work after an exhausting 16 hour day, and fell asleep on the sofa by accident.  I woke up 8 hours later, jumped up off the sofa, and fed the critters, so 24 hours had elapsed since the last feeding.  I noticed a pretty thick layer of light brown liquid on top, and evidence of some major frothing above that level.  I must have missed the activity, but I know it happened.  Now the culture is just sitting there.  I have been feeding it every 10-12 hours for a day and a half, but there is pretty much no activity at all, and it smells pretty gross.  My wife says that the during the day when the activity was happening the kitchen smelled like fresh bread.  Now it smells like sour milk, mixed with some dirty socks, mixed with a damp locker room.  Well, maybe not that bad, but it is a little stinky.  Did I kill them?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on April 26, 2005, 07:22:39 AM
Scott

Do not panic. You did not kill them. What has probably happen is that the over fermentation has produced too much acid and feeding the same amount of flour and water doesn't work, because the amount of culture to feed is bigger then the amount of feeding. What you need to do now is to do some refreshment. There are instructions in the booklet about it, however what I do is the following:

Take 1/2 cup of the compost, and remove all the rest from the container (put it aside in the fridge for the moment, while you work on the 1/2 cup). You need to mix everything before taking the 1/2 cup: mix the brown liquid back into the compost.

Now to the starting 1/2 cup, add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water and leave it for 6 hours. After that time, take only 1/2 cup of the compost and repeat the above (put aside the rest). After the second cycle you compost should be back fermenting at the right acidity.

Once you are sure about having recovered the compost, you can discard the rest.


Take care
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 26, 2005, 09:13:08 AM
scott, stay with it, it takes practice.  These types of things happened all the time when I first started.

Marco, listening to scott it reminded me of the 2 cultures I bought from sourdo.com years ago.  My current culture is so mild compared to those. It NEVER produces those kinds of strong aromas that can be smelled around the room, even if you left it out for a week.  The San Fran and I think the Yukon that I had were much, much stronger.  I remember now. I had the Patsy's for a few months and it seemed like it never really added much, so I bought from Ed Wood and after 12 hours I looked at Ed's and said, "So THAT'S what these are supposed to do". It was so different that I thought my culture was actually dead. Anyway, then I managed to cross contaminate everything and had to start over 5 months later with a new culture from Patsy's.  Anyway, I think this is why I get good results after many days in the fridge. It is the nature of the culture. The culture itself does not have enough boost to rise the dough and make it springy. So I have to add some IDY. But even a tiny amount of IDY will rise the dough in a day if I leave it at room temp. Therefore a very long cold rise is what works best. 

pft, if you get another culture from sourdo.com there are about a million experiments that I can think of.

jeff

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on April 26, 2005, 08:13:42 PM
whatsup guys :)

I thought i'd give a try on getting in on trying to replicate a patsy's pie. This was my very first attempt.

i know there are a lot of different recipes in this thread but i was starving and couldnt read through them all so i went with Reply #211 of the thread:

3 cups KASL
1 1/8 cups Water
1/8 TSP + 1/4 TSP IDY (since i had no varasano preferment)
2 1/4 TSP Sicilian Sea Salt
1 TSP Olive Oil

When i was mixing everything was too dry and didnt seem to want to form into a cohesive dough ball so i poured in a bit more water.. but not that much. I know i need to get a scale asap and stop using my measuring cups.... :D

First thing i noticed when i was done was how "tough" the dough ball was.. it felt a lot harder and firmer than i usually get with my normal recipe.

my normal recipe is:
3 cups KASL
1 1/4 cups water
1 TSP IDY
1 1/4 TSP salt
2 TSP Oil

anyways... this was my frist try with this recipe so i split into 2 balls and put them into big zip lock storage bags (not bowls).

about 15 hours later i pulled the first ball out and just took it out of the bag to see what the dough felt and smelled like.. it was a lot different than my usual dough.. i like this stuff a lot.. it felt like a big piece of rubber and seemed easy to work with. So i punched it back into a bowl and put it back into the fridge... then ended up taking both balls out and letting them sit out at room temperature for about 5 hours.

First i made a cheese pizza.. this dough stretched out easier than ive ever had any dough stretch out, it was great.. not sure why the big difference compared to my usual dough? less yeast, more salt? not sure.. anyways....

i got it out so big it was falling off the stone a bit so i had to push in the sides some... got it out to about 16 inches.

Topped with sliced whole milk mozzarella (boar's head - i was out of grande)...
then put some sauce on top of the sliced cheese.. then chunks of fresh mozz on top of that.

i used a normal type of sauce (crushed escalon 6-1 with penzey's and other spices) rather than marzano tomatoes or whatever.

The pizza came out great.

I had a problem with the 2nd dough ball however.. no matter how hard i tried it just took forever to stretch out.. i dont know if its because i took this ball out of the fridge and punched it down then put it back or what.. but i just couldnt get it thin. I have this same problem with my normal dough recipe.. it just doesnt want to stretch out no matter how long i leave it out to warm up.. ive even tried only giving it 1 hour to roll out cooler, etc.. maybe i just suck at stretching hehe.

I got it this one out to only about 13-14 inches probably and topped the same way and with a bunch of EZZO pepperoni.

Both pizzas were so damn good.. the best ive ever made to date.

so crispy on the outside and nice and moist and doughy on the inside the way i like it. I got some decent char on the pies as well.

i look forward to following this thread and perfecting this... gotta learn how to get some starters going too!  8)

Here's the pics of the cheese patsy style first.......
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on April 26, 2005, 08:14:14 PM
more...

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on April 26, 2005, 08:14:57 PM
the pepperoni pie:

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on April 26, 2005, 08:15:26 PM
more...

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 26, 2005, 08:23:53 PM
Snowdy I'd take a bite out of that pie...looks great..your baking technique, how do you get your nice bottom char?? I bet this tasted great like you said..
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on April 26, 2005, 08:33:54 PM
Snowdy I'd take a bite out of that pie...looks great..your baking technique, how do you get your nice bottom char?? I bet this tasted great like you said..

hey MTPIZZA :D

here at my house my oven SUCKS and i cant even get the crust to hardly brown.. but at my parents place they have a 15 year old standard oven that goes to 550.. but i think for whatever reason it must go a lot higher than that (maybe up to 700 like pftaylor sugggested).. but for whatever reason it chars everything up nice.

actually i went to another friend's house with a 550 oven (mine only goes to 500) and got similar results.. i wonder if 50 degrees makes that much difference but i have no clue.

whatever it is ill keep going to my parents place to bake as much as i can  ;D
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 26, 2005, 09:22:56 PM
Hey Snowdy,

The pies look really good. A few things I could suggest:  Take note of the autolyse and gradual adding of flour techniques that I talk about extensively on my site. You will never have a tough ball that won't stretch out again. Working with a recipe is fine, but as you are adding the flour, you must learn to feel the dough. If it feels right, it's done. No need to add the last bit of flour (which will make it tough) just to satisfy a number on a recipe. You must learn to do it by feel ultimately because humidity and other factors come into play.  Also, we have not discussed punching down the dough much on this thread. Neither I nor pft do it.  I've really had no luck with that at all. It makes it tough and is just unnecessary. But the most important thing you will do is add the rest periods: mix 1 minute, rest 20, knead 10, rest 5, knead 5, rest 15, make balls.  2/3 of the flour goes in at the beginning, the rest gradually. This will radically transform your dough. 

As the dough becomes easier to extend, you should make the ball a little lighter for the same pie size.

Unfortunately, my website is down tonight.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on April 26, 2005, 11:21:32 PM
Snowdy,

Nice job with the pies.

I assume you used the variation of autolyse recommended by pftaylor, which differs somewhat from the rest periods used by Jeff. I recently made the Raquel dough using the more formal autolyse technique described by DINKS. What I found interesting is that all three approaches seem to work well, and I suspect that there are many more variations that will also work well.

I agree with Jeff that you shouldn't rework the dough, as by punching it down and reballing it. That rejumbles the gluten strands and makes the dough hard to work with thereafter. I think also that using a scale to weigh things is a good idea, if only to achieve a greater degree of consistency. Even that isn't perfect, and you have to fine tune things, but it seems to keep the fine tuning down to a minimum.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on April 27, 2005, 01:06:54 AM
thanks for the tips guys :) i'll post my results as i come accross trying new methods.. im making another few pizzas this thursday for family.

varasano what is the link to your site?

thanks  :D
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on April 27, 2005, 02:10:41 AM
snowdy, click on the globe under varasano's awesome looking pie on the left side of any of his posts.  That should take you right to his website.

pizzanapoletana, thanks you saved my culture.  I was actually thinking about throwing it out and getting new ones.  Today it started smelling REALLY good again, and now I am seeing some signs of activity. 

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 27, 2005, 08:18:13 AM
The globe will link to my site, but my site is down. Should be back up later in the day. I"m going to freakin KILL bellsouth. Last week I spent $40,000 going to a trade show and sent everyone there to my website to sign up for an event surrounding my new product. Contacts were coming in steadily. Then Bellsouth turned off our IP connection because they thought we were moving our offices this week instead of next.  MotherF.......


Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Artale on April 27, 2005, 11:50:36 AM
Hey Snowdy,

The pies look really good. A few things I could suggest:  Take note of the autolyse and gradual adding of flour techniques that I talk about extensively on my site. You will never have a tough ball that won't stretch out again. Working with a recipe is fine, but as you are adding the flour, you must learn to feel the dough. If it feels right, it's done. No need to add the last bit of flour (which will make it tough) just to satisfy a number on a recipe. You must learn to do it by feel ultimately because humidity and other factors come into play.  Also, we have not discussed punching down the dough much on this thread. Neither I nor pft do it.  I've really had no luck with that at all. It makes it tough and is just unnecessary. But the most important thing you will do is add the rest periods: mix 1 minute, rest 20, knead 10, rest 5, knead 5, rest 15, make balls.  2/3 of the flour goes in at the beginning, the rest gradually. This will radically transform your dough. 

As the dough becomes easier to extend, you should make the ball a little lighter for the same pie size.

Unfortunately, my website is down tonight.

Jeff

Varasano,

Sorry about your phone problem!

If have been to your web site. (great site!)
I was wondering if you add all your water up front?

thanks,
Artale
 :D

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 27, 2005, 12:20:23 PM
My site is back up after 40 hours of downtime.  Ugh!!!

All the ingredients are added up front except that 1/3 of the flour is held back and added gradually as the mixing proceeds
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Artale on April 27, 2005, 01:10:36 PM
I have used your receipe and my results are improving
each time.  With the help of you, pizza neapolitana, pete-zza,
PFtaylor, Dinks and others I know in time I will be making
a great product.

thanks again

Artale
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 29, 2005, 10:13:20 PM
I've posted up some new sauce instructions on my site. These changes are subtle, but have REALLY changed the taste of the sauce for the better. It is now REALLY close to Patsy's and so much better than ever before. Check it out.

I made a few pies yesterday. I ate almost 2 whole pies myself... (300g dough each)
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 30, 2005, 02:16:22 AM
I don't have pictures, but I thought I would throw some observations out there. I made about 3 pounds of dough last week. I made a couple pies after 24 hours in the fridge , a couple after 3 days and one at 6 days. Overall they all handled well, flavor wise I would say the 3 day dough tasted the best, but even at 6 days it tasted fine and handled just as well as the other dough balls. I also made a small batch with a 65% hydration percentage, following the pizza raquel recipe/handling instructions. It handled great, but not quite as robust as the 60%  hydration dough, but with the limitaitions of my oven, it did result in a more airy crispy crust, which I liked.

Brian
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 30, 2005, 02:27:08 AM
Thanks brian. Those are good tests. Are you using a starter?

Pizza photos:  http://www.damichele.net/
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 30, 2005, 02:54:13 AM
I'm not using a starter at this time. I will be purchasing the italian starters from sourdo.com pretty soon I think. I'm debating on whether I should buy his book first so I don't mess the starts up, or if the info the starter comes with would be good enough. For now I'm using IDY.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 30, 2005, 03:04:55 AM
actually, I did find some pictures. Most of the pizza was eaten before I had a chance to take pictures. This is a 60% hydration dough after a 3 day cold rise. Cooked in a home oven preheated to 550 for one hour, cooked for just over 5 minutes with the broiler on high. The broiler in this case is just the top heating element.

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_042305/patsys_2-1.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_042305/patsys_2-2.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/patsys_042305/patsys_2-3.jpg)


Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on April 30, 2005, 05:28:32 AM
duckjob, I have a feeling you will be fine without the book.  The directions that come with the starter, plus what has been written on this forum will be enough info to get these things going without any problems.   I just screwed up by not being around for 20 hours straight.   As long as you will be around to feed them, you will be fine.  Letting them go for a normal 8 hour work day will be fine.
This italian starter from the old bakery smells so amazing I want to drink it.  It has a vanilla milkshake/cake frosting kind of smell to it now that it is back in good health. My wife keeps begging me to hurry up and back some pie because the scent is driving her crazy! I have a feeling it is going to make a mighty fine tasting dough.
Also, nice char for a normal oven.  Looks good!!!!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 30, 2005, 06:58:15 AM
duckjob,
Your pies keep on getting better and better. You may have to open a shop if you keep trending like that.

Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on April 30, 2005, 12:01:58 PM
I'm not using a starter at this time. I will be purchasing the italian starters from sourdo.com pretty soon I think. I'm debating on whether I should buy his book first so I don't mess the starts up, or if the info the starter comes with would be good enough. For now I'm using IDY.

Definitely buy the book.  The info on this forum, including my own descriptions,  is not really a substitute in my opinion.

pftaylor, I'd love for you to get the italian starter and compare.  Just think of how much time that would save me ;-)

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on April 30, 2005, 12:21:25 PM
Varasano,
I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help for the next 60 - 90 days as we have two projects which will require constant travel (M - F) on my part. So I would not be able to properly grow a new starter with only being home on the weekends.

In July, after our year-end, I would be able to focus more on pizza related activities. Until then it seems like a stretch to do much more than bake an occasional pie here or there. I wish I had better news but the sober realities of the role I'm in dictate my current plight.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on April 30, 2005, 06:19:05 PM
Thanks for the nice comments scottr and pftaylor.

I think I'll end up buying the book with the starters if for no other reason that I find the science behing the process kind of interesting.  3 more weeks until I'm done with school, then I'll have much more time to devote to pizza.

Brian


Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on May 06, 2005, 10:00:48 AM
I made my first batch with caputo pizzeria 00.  It took a lot more flour than the KA I'm used to. It was

Caputo 100.00%
Water 56%
IDY 0.3%
Salt 2.25%

With about 20% of the flour and water coming from the poolish.  It was still very very wet to handle.

I'm doing a 3 day cold rise so I can have a crew watching Desperate Housewives and eating pizza. I let a small piece sit out just to see it warm rise

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on May 06, 2005, 01:12:26 PM
Let me know if your room temp rise has way more sour flavor than the fridge dough.  The was such a difference between the two in my experiment.  I almost didn't taste it in some of the fridge dough, but that counter rise.......holy S***!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on May 09, 2005, 10:45:33 AM
I have found the fridge rise has more flavor, but I'd imagine that this might vary depending on the culture.  I did not do the counter rise experiment this time. I let it sit, but didn't have time to bake it.

I made the caputo pies. They were very good, but not as good as some of my other experiments. I didn't take any photos, but frankly they looked identical to my usual anyway.  I may try the caputo with a shorter cold rise or go back and try Marco's short warm rise and see how that works out. It's always hard to get perfect results the first time out with new ingredients, so I'm not passing judgement on the caputo.

I will say this. I know I've said this before but it deserves repeating. I know some people are out there obsessing on the kind of flour. AP, Break, Hi Gluten, 00.  I've used all 4 of these in the last 4 months.  And let me tell you - the differences in these products PALE in comparison to the 3 really key factors:
1- the starter used
2- the technique used in making and fermenting the dough
3- the heat

Work on improving everything - the freshest herbs. the best cheese, the best tomatoes, good flour, good salt, etc.  But understand that the 3 above are the largest determinates of your results. 

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Artale on May 09, 2005, 12:01:09 PM
Jeff,

i am no expert by any means but you said a mouth full no pun intended!
The more i make pizza the more it comes down to making the dough.
The procedure is everything. the right amount of water is also very
high on the scale of things. I have been using your methods for a month
with great results. I told my wife i need a dig camera so i can share
my pics.  thanks jeff

 :D
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on May 09, 2005, 03:06:27 PM
I totally agree with Jeff...its the procedure used or techinque used that provides the best end result... many good flours are available at everyones disposal...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on May 09, 2005, 06:11:25 PM
Varasano,
I mostly agree with your list just not the order it is in.

The mixing and stretching procedures are far and away number one along with skill and knowledge of the home pizzaiolo. It must be tweaked almost on a daily basis depending on a host of factors. It is equal parts art and science in my book.

Followed by extreme heat which can be a great deodorant for screw-ups in key factor number one above. I found out in my recent trip to NY that some of the elite pizzerias rely heavily on their oven and not their skill. A truly hot oven has the capability to produce a glorious pie.

Then things such as preferments and quality ingredients which can add to the experience but cannot possibly save the day if the other two factors aren't right. Get the first two factors right and number three is rendered nearly insignificant.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on May 11, 2005, 08:10:08 PM
I would like just to point out that is important to mix properly the dough, and there are such factor as oxidating the flour (which increase strenght and water absorbtion), however this doesn't mean that the dough needs to be overworked. I can see from some of your pictures that the crumb is to bready, too dense.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Artale on May 12, 2005, 10:57:24 AM
Marco,

do you use a rest period in between kneading?
also from your response you indicate that maybe
too much mixing is the problem creating a denser dough.

What approximate  total mixing time do you use?

thanks,

Artale
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on May 12, 2005, 02:12:31 PM
for anyone that is interested this is the process I have been using, and it has consistenly resulted in a very airy, soft and crispy crust.

1 minute -  mix in water and half of flour
20 minute -  rest
5 minutes - gradually mix in remaining flour over five minutes
15 minute -  rest
1 minute - hand knead

I use a kitchen aid stand mixer on the lowest setting.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on May 12, 2005, 05:28:01 PM
I do use a rest period,

I prefer to work with a fork mixer,

By the way, too much mixing does create a too dense dough and also gummy once cooled...

Ciao


Marco,

do you use a rest period in between kneading?
also from your response you indicate that maybe
too much mixing is the problem creating a denser dough.

What approximate  total mixing time do you use?

thanks,

Artale
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on May 12, 2005, 07:33:06 PM
duckjob, you may actually be mixing too little. 6 minutes total kneading seems light to me.  I don't know what kind of machine you are using, but for a home machine especially, that seems low.  I have best result with 10-15 total time, depending on the hydration and a few other factors. But most of this time is with less than all the flour
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Sedagive on May 12, 2005, 10:12:02 PM
My family roots are located  near tapani just east of that city in a town
called Castellammare Del Golfo.  Me and my wife at such a point would like to take
a trip to Italy and Castellammare will be on the list of places to see.

Beautiful landscape!

Chow!!




My grandfather was from Castellamare del Golfo!  His last name was Galatioto.  Are we related?  lol.    :)
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: duckjob on May 13, 2005, 01:42:50 AM
duckjob, you may actually be mixing too little. 6 minutes total kneading seems light to me.  I don't know what kind of machine you are using, but for a home machine especially, that seems low.  I have best result with 10-15 total time, depending on the hydration and a few other factors. But most of this time is with less than all the flour

Hmm, when I make a batch next week I'll experiment with a longer knead time.  I am using a 6 qt Kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook, and generally make about 50 oz of dough at a time. My hydration percentage is usually 65%.  I'll report back with my findings.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on May 13, 2005, 08:04:21 AM
I do use a rest period, which in Naples we call "riposo", but is done once the dough has reached the right consistency (but not texture). We have been doing so for centuries, and it will be described  in full details in my forthcoming book. I let the dough rest for  15-20 and then I turn on the mixer again for a full rotation, one only. The dough change aspect immediately.

Napoletan,

Very interesting about the "riposo". This something I will try on the batch of dough I will prepare this morning to bake on Sunday. After the reposo, do you do anything else before fermenting? For some reason, for all breads and pizzas, after machine kneading I knead by hand for a minute or two just to get a feel for the dough - probably more of a ritual than anything else. 

When is your book coming out? I would love to buy a copy.

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on May 13, 2005, 11:33:56 PM
I just put up 3 new photos of a caputo pie at the very bottom of my site:

http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm

Good pies, but nothing that would make me travel the planet looking for a Caputo distributor.  Read my comments with the photos.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Sedagive on May 13, 2005, 11:59:17 PM
I just put up 3 new photos of a caputo pie at the very bottom of my site:

http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm

Good pies, but nothing that would make me travel the planet looking for a Caputo distributor.  Read my comments with the photos.

Jeff


Your site is a wealth of great information.  Thanks for sharing it with all of us.   :)

Allan
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on May 14, 2005, 02:56:42 AM
Good pies, but nothing that would make me travel the planet looking for a Caputo distributor.

Jeff,

I've been using nothing but Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour. It would be great if I could achieve the same results using something easier to acquire like KA Bread Flour. This is something I'll try soon for a side-by-side taste test. And a 6-day fermentation? Never occured to me to go that long. Thanks for a great site with so much useful information - I think your Patsy's sauce is sensational.

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on May 14, 2005, 02:22:00 PM
What I'm up against:

I saw a recent survey here in Atlanta of best pizza places. My neighbors here gave Domino's a 9.1 rating out of 10.

God help us all...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: PizzaSuperFreak on May 14, 2005, 03:27:02 PM
varasano,

amen, brother.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: BradLovesPizza on May 31, 2005, 08:01:02 AM
Can someone point me to the Patsy's sauce recipe that Bill and others are praising? I'll probably be starting with 6-in-1 tomatoes

Brad
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on May 31, 2005, 09:18:12 AM
Can someone point me to the Patsy's sauce recipe that Bill and others are praising? I'll probably be starting with 6-in-1 tomatoes

http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Arthur on May 31, 2005, 09:25:03 AM
Finally got my shipment of Patsy's sauce - these are the actual cans of crushed tomatoes used at Patsy's in Harlem.  I used them for a surprise party I giving on Friday night.    I made 6 pies using the sauce. 

My comments on the sauce:
- sauce came as crushed tomatoes - not the typical whole peeled.   I still put them through my food processor as I normally do.
- added my usual amount of oregano, salt, pepper
- strained some water from the sauce.

Bottom line.  Tastes just like my typical sauce (have used Vantia, Nina,etc).   

I'm convinced that you can get slightly different tastes - e.g., when I use Bonta or 6 in 1, the sauce has a different / fuller tomatoe-y taste, but all in all the biggest different in taste comes from heat.   When I used a wood burning oven the taste of the sauce is "brighter" because it's not cooked as much.  Bottom line (although I still have a can of Cento DOP San Marzano to try) I will probably stick with Vantia or Nina or other italian whole peeled tomatoes I can get my hands on and add very little to make the sauce.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on June 01, 2005, 10:04:51 PM
glad to see you guy's still at it.  i enjoy many of the posts. and ya'll have renewed . my passion for the perfect pie!!!!!!!!!!  since i've been here. i got back into it a bit. spend some time at my cousins pizzeria. ( even gave him a break a few times for a few hours and found i didn't lose it) i didn't get payed either.  ha ha.. no question it's all in the dough.  i even made a few mixes, ( i wasn't there the next day to try it out) lol  but sure it was workable. as i helped roll it. in a shop it's all about dough management. you have to be able to look, feel, etc. to know your next move. time for raising is so important.  have been making my paper thin sicilian pies at home. that i'm sure are top shelf. even if i screw up on the topping sometimes at least i got the crust down to a science. been down to see jose' a few times and he's still pumping them out.  would love to work with him for an afternoon and and get him to drink a fews beers with me . and let me work that coal oven   this is a good place. and i get some great ideas. keep up the good work   quido
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on June 05, 2005, 10:44:09 AM
quidoPizza,
Glad to see that you are back. I have missed your unique insights into the world of NY pizza making.

Next time you are at Patsy's make sure you tell Jose that he got me good on the sugar thing. I owe him for that one. The only way he can make up for his sly deception is to make a classic Patsy's Pizza for me. Reheated of course!




Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Sour_Jax on July 23, 2005, 08:56:26 PM
This thread has improved my home pies in such a way that I can't even believe it. Although this thread has laid resting for over a month, I need to revive it once again.

The Pizza Raquel and Patsy's recipe both call for 2 "heaping" Tablespoons of preferment which is about 8%. If I want to let's say double or even triple, or more the amount of preferment used. How can I do that (mathmatically) without messing up the overall hydration level of the dough. I realize that if I double or triple the amount of preferment it will change the over all hydration level.

Using the pizza recipe in Ed Wood's "Classic Sourdoughs" (that is if my math is right) the %'s are.

Flour 100% (4.75 c)
Water 36.8% (1 c)
Starter 95.8% (2 c)
Salt 1.35% (1.5 t)
Oil 4.5% (2 T)

Now, for example, if I don't want to use 2 cups of starter (or the 2 T in Patsy's), instead I want to use 1/4 c of starter (in either recipe) how do I adjust the flour and water weights to compensate for the change.

I made a recipe today but don't want to waste to the flour to find out if it works, perhaps some of you can check my recipe mathmatically to see if it will still have the same overall hydration level.

Flour 100% (16.9 oz.) About 3.75 c
Water 60% (10.14 oz.) about 1.3 c
Starter 15% (around 2.5 oz.) about 0.25 c
Salt 2% (0.33 oz.) about 1.75 t
IDY Yeast 0.25% (0.04 oz.) about 0.5 t (it's actually more like .4 t)

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on July 24, 2005, 10:41:07 AM
Sour Jacks,

I have reviewed your calculations but have not been able to determine how you arrived at the baker’s percents for pizza dough recipe from Ed Wood’s book (at page 118). After trying several times last night to come up with numbers that looked like yours, I was about to give up and come back to you for clarification. Then, purely by accident, I stumbled upon pages 200 and 201 of Ed Wood’s book in which he recites the assumptions he uses for converting volumes of the liquid culture, flour and water to weights. While I think his number for flour is too high and his number for water is too low, I nonetheless used his assumptions rather than mine (after all, it is his book and his recipe). The Wood assumptions are as follows:

1 c. liquid culture = approx. 9 oz.
1 c. flour = 5 oz.
1 c. water = 8 oz.
The liquid culture = 48% flour and 52% water

Using the above assumptions and my own conversion data for salt and vegetable oil, plus doing some additional calculations, I get the following:

2 c. liquid culture = 18 oz. = 8.64 oz. flour (48% of 18) and 9.36 oz. water (52% of 18)
4 3/4 c. flour = 23.75 oz. (4 3/4 x 5)
1 c. water = 8 oz.
1 1/2 t. salt = 0.30 oz. (1 1/2 t. x 0.196875 oz./t.)
2 T. (6 t.) vegetable oil = 0.99 oz. (6 t. x 0.0.1645833 oz./t.)
Total dough weight = 51.04 oz. (for four 12-13-inch pizzas)
Individual dough ball weight = 12.76 oz. (51.04/4)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.10-0.11 (medium thickness)

Combining the flour and water from the basic recipe with the flour and water in the liquid culture leads to the following, including baker’s percents:

100%, Flour, 32.39 oz. (23.75 oz. plus 8.64 oz.)
53.6%, Water, 17.36 oz. (8 oz. plus 9.36 oz.)
0.93%, Salt, 0.30 oz.
3.06%, Vegetable oil, 0.99 oz.
Total dough weight = 51.04 oz.

It will be noted from the above that the hydration for the liquid culture itself is 108.3% (9.36/8.64). The hydration for the basic flour and water in the recipe is 33.7% (8/23.75). However, the combined hydration (total hydration) is 53.6%, as noted above.

Now, if you decide to reduce the amount of liquid culture from 2 cups in the above recipe to 1/4 cup, as you postulated in your post, the net effect of doing that is to reduce the total weight of the dough from 51.04 ounces to 35.29 oz., a difference of 15.75 ounces (18 oz. minus 9 oz./4). The practical implications of doing this is to either reduce the number and/or sizes of the pizzas that can be made from the reduced amount of dough (or to reduce the thicknesses of the pizza crusts). To avoid doing this and distorting the recipe, it is necessary to get the total weight of the dough back up to 51.04 ounces. This is done by adding 7.56 oz. of flour back to the recipe (15.75 oz. times 48%) and by adding 8.19 oz. of water back to the recipe (15.75 oz. times 52%). Doing both of these brings the recipe back to normal--where it started—and all of the baker’s percents as noted above remain unchanged.

The same analysis applies to the Patsy's recipe (and the successor Raquel recipe developed by pftaylor). However, if you decide to increase the amount of preferment (liquid culture) in the Patsy's recipe to 1/4 cup, as you postulated in your post, you will then have to adjust downward the amounts of flour and water recited in the recipe so that the total dough weight remains the same. Without knowing what the hydration percent is for the preferment, you will be unable to determine the precise final hydration percent for the recipe. However, I’m reasonably certain that pftaylor maintains his preferment at a fairly uniform consistency and knows how to use it to achieve consistently good results. Even if he is off a bit, the differences are not likely to be significant.

Turning now to the recipe at the bottom of your post, it appears to be workable from the perspective of the baker’s percents. Your recipe calls for 15% starter, which is reasonable for a pizza dough. The rest of the baker’s percents are also in line. So, you should not have a problem with the recipe itself. However, unless you know the hydration for the starter, you will not be able to accurately determine the total hydration for the recipe. I was recently faced with the same problem. The way I solved it was to make two small dough balls, each about the size of a walnut. The first dough ball was made from combining and kneading a mixture of flour and water that was equal to the hydration percent of my recipe (in that case it was 43%). To make the second dough ball, I took a quantity of my preferment (with an estimated hydration of around 100%) and gradually added and kneaded in an amount of flour that produced the same feel and texture of the dough ball with the known hydration percent. This may seem like a crude approach, but you will be surprised how close you can come to getting the two dough balls to feel almost identical. Once this condition is achieved, then all that remains to be done is to weigh out the amount of the preferment called for in the recipe (15% of the weight of flour in your case) and combine it with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.

If you would like to see in a bit more detail how I used the preferment in the situation I mentioned, see Reply #22 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1585.20.html. You might also find it helpful to look at Reply #5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1593.0.html. In that post you will see a recipe that I developed for fellow member Les to make a 15-ounce version of a Lehmann dough using a poolish (and a bunch of other things) without changing the underlying hydration percent for the Lehmann dough. The part that I think you may find helpful is the way the flour and water in the basic recipe and in the poolish are combined and how the hydration percents are calculated and used.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Sour_Jax on July 24, 2005, 11:15:51 AM
My assumptions were:

Flour   1 c.   4.57 oz.
Water   1 c.   8.00 oz.
Salt   1 t.   0.196 oz.
Oil   1 t.   0.164 oz.
Sweetner   1 t.   0.14 oz.
ADY   1 t.   0.133 oz.
IDY   1 t.   0.106 oz.
Starter   1 c.   10.4 oz.

This probably threw my math off. I have since change the starter weight to 9 oz.
Size- 12
TF 0.108
Weight 12.2
# of Pizzas 4
Flour   100.00%   21.71   4.75   c.
Water   36.85%   8.00   1   c.
Starter   82.92%   18.00   2   c.
Salt   1.35%   0.29   1.5   t.
Oil   4.53%   0.98   6   t.
Yeast   0.00%   0.00   0   t.
Sweetner   0.00%   0.00   0   t.

This is how the math now comes out perhaps I'm not calculating correctly somewhere. I didn't break the starter down into flour and water and go from there, should I be doing it that way?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Uptown on July 24, 2005, 11:25:04 AM
Can someone tell me where I can order/purchase the Patsy's Sauce from.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on July 24, 2005, 12:43:08 PM
Sour Jacks,

I went through the rigorous analysis so that you can see how everything fits together mathematically and otherwise. The main reason you would break down the starter into its flour and water components is to be able to determine the hydration figure for the entire recipe. Ed Wood tells us what the breakdown of his liquid culture is but most people don't manage their starters to be able to determine how much of the starter is flour and how much of it is water. Hence, they have no good fix on its hydration. Consequently, what most people do is to follow their basic recipe, add some preferment, and then add additional flour and/or water to get the dough to the desired final condition. But doing this increases the total dough weight. Theoretically, the amounts of the other ingredients (e.g., salt and oil) should also be adjusted (using the respective baker's percents) but this is rarely done. So, the dough is altered from what was originally intended. If you were a professional baker, you couldn't operate like this because the results would be inconsistent. Most bakers manage the starters so that they have a fixed hydration, in most cases the same as the hydration figure for the underlying dough recipe. That is the reason I gave you the example of how to do this using the two dough ball method for a preferment of unknown hydration.

In the case of the recipe I developed for Les, I had to break down the poolish into its constituent components so that Les would know how much poolish to make and how much flour and water would be needed. A poolish is easier to work with than a preferment of unspecified hydration since, by definition, a poolish is made up of equal weights of flour and water, to yield a hydration of 100%. If Les had decided to use a random preferment, I would have instructed him to use the two dough ball method, which would have obviated the need to break down the preferment into its constituent components.

In your most recent recipe, based on the 82.92% hydration figure you indicate, unless my math is wrong I calculate that the total flour weight for the recipe is 31.55 ounces (21.71 oz. plus 9.84 oz.) and the total water weight is 16.16 (8 oz. plus 8.16 oz.) That combination yields a hydration figure of 51.2%. If that is what you are looking for, then you should be OK, however a hydration of 51.2% is low for pizza dough you appear to be contemplating and the crust won't be like a Patsy's crust or a Raquel crust, both of which have thickness factors considerably less than for your recipe. Since you posted under the Patsy's thread, I assumed that your objective was to emulate a Patsy's crust.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Sour_Jax on July 24, 2005, 01:40:40 PM
I'm still working on my pizza math, but I think I'm getting closer to getting it right.

Well my goals here are two fold.
1) be able to control the recipe in every way (mathmatically at least)
2) create a pie comparable to Patsy's, Raquel, or even Lehmanns.

I played with my spreadsheet a little and have come up this new recipe
Flour-16.5 oz. or 3.3 c. [17.93 oz. (total flour/including starter)]
Water-66.63% (total hydration) 10.4 oz. or 1.3 c.   [11.94 oz. (total water/including starter)]
Starter-24.87% 2.97 oz. or 0.33 c.   
Salt-1.64% 0.29 oz. or 1.5 t.   
Yeast-0.19% 0.03 oz. or 0.25 t.   
Sweetner-2.54% 0.46 oz. or 3.25 t.   

I'm posting this while I let the mix rest for 20 min.  I let everyone know how this comes out.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on July 24, 2005, 01:51:35 PM
Uptown,

There was some discussion of the Patsy's pizza sauce in several earlier posts in this thread, and it appears that Patsy's (the East Harlem location) is currently using ground tomatoes from a wholesaler by the name of Sassone Wholesale Groceries. I don't know if they sell direct to the public, but you can try calling them if you are interested. See http://www.foodservicecentral.com/BuyersGuide/CompanyProfile.asp?CoID=358485.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Uptown on July 24, 2005, 05:43:11 PM
Thank you for the information, Peter. I will give it a try.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on August 18, 2005, 05:45:08 PM
I have a lot of news to report, but no time to write.  I'm going to update my site soon.  I now have 2 different procedures that can make an excellent dough. One is based on Marco's idea of a low yeast 18 hour warm rise. This has only natural starter with no baker's yeast at all. It's very flavorful and great for making a pie in under 24 hours. But it's difficult to time. The dough is good for a relatively small window of a few hours at the end of the 16-18 hr rise. If your plans change, you are kind of screwed. You can't really refridgerate near the end. This would be a great recipe if you owned a pizza place and made dough on a regular schedule.

The other method is my old method, listed on my site. natural starter with a baker's yeast booster and a long cold rise. The advantage of this method is that you can make it days in advance and it only needs a 1-2 hour counter rise to get ready. So basically it's ready any time you are.  I now have some excellent theory that explains exactly why these both work nearly the same. I don't have time to get into it though.

One minor thing. I know I've said this before, but my latest experiments really confirm that a light springy dough comes from high hydration (probably 62-65) and a very small amount of rise. Don't let the dough overrise. Marco said 25%. No doubling. I agree. It might be a bit more that 25% but not much.

My big news is in my sauce. As those who've read my site know, I strain rather than pre-cook my sauce. I'm a big fan of it. I discovered something else. As you strain the water coming out is highly acidic and has almost no sweetness. If you continue to strain longer, so the sauce dries out too much, the water coming out continues to be acidic. If you replace some of that water with fresh water, which is not acidic, the sauce is instantly much sweeter and fresher tasting. You can also repeat the cycle, adding more fresh water and straining it again. If you have a tight strainer, the water coming out is completely clear and has no red solids in it. This proceedure amounts to rinsing the tomatoes.  The end result is an amazing improvement. By far the best sauce I've ever made. Continue wtih the rest of my recipe, with a healthy amount of romano and a touch of sugar and a pinch of salt. I've confirmed that Johnny's (my favorite sauce) uses parmesian and not romano, so I'm now trying that too (or a blend). You guys need to taste this sauce. It's awesome.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on August 18, 2005, 07:36:11 PM
One minor thing. I know I've said this before, but my latest experiments really confirm that a light springy dough comes from high hydration (probably 62-65) and a very small amount of rise. Don't let the dough overrise. Marco said 25%. No doubling. I agree. It might be a bit more that 25% but not much.

I've been experimenting a lot, trying to stay as close as possible to Marco's recommendations and, although I agree with the importance of high hydration (65%), I've had entirely different experiences with fermenting. I've been getting great results using Marco's Camaldoli starter (no commercial yeast) with an 18-hour room-temp rise which just about doubles the volume (nothing happens for about the first 12 hours and then it rises quickly). I then place it the refrigerator for about 2 days. Shape and proof for 3 hours and then bake. I have tried doing this without the 2-day retardation and the flavor of the dough is not as rich. 

I am sure there are many reasons for the differences including the composition of the starter, kneading, my high-altitude (7000'), etc.

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on August 19, 2005, 04:46:41 PM
I have found that chilling after the rise causes a major loss of spring. It's like blowing up a bubble. It's tighter on the way up then on the way down. Chilling risen dough damages it.   Try chilling before the real rise portion begins. Then leave longer for the final proof. 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: MTPIZZA on August 20, 2005, 05:40:57 PM
jeff, sounds like you have hit on something here with rinsing or adding water to sauce... I'm going to try it with my next pie, thanks for the experiment update. I'm heading to your sight after this message.
Title: Patsy's, Sally's, Johnny's
Post by: varasano on November 03, 2005, 11:35:47 AM
I hit Patsy's, Sally's & Johnny's this weekend.

Patsy's: First pie was awesome, like the old days of patsy's.  A 9.5 with 10 being the patsy's of old.  The second pie was terrible. Burnt on top, raw on bottom, flatbread-like crispy edge and bitter tasting. It was like a 4. What happened in the span of 10 minutes? I have no idea. 

Johnny's: a 10, as always. Unbelievably good.

Sally's: 40 minutes on line and another 40 to wait for a pie. But it was worth it. Excellent. I hadn't had it in 5 years and it was better than I remember. Also a 10. I had a clam pie too. That was good, but not great. I made a clam pie a few weeks ago that blew it away.

I made 16 pies recently for a party.  I was super organized. During the day I separted all the toppings into containers which I numbered and then I had a friend manage the list and the ingredients so I could focus on the final prep. Another person worked the oven clock so I didn't have to worry about burning things while I talked to people. It worked out really well:

1   Margarita   
2   Margarita   
3   Margarita   
4   Olives & Caper   
5   Strombolli - Pepperoni / Mozz / Fresh Tomato / Sundried Tomato /Rosemary   
6   Margarita   
7   Sausage   
8   Onion / Shitake  / Balsamic / Parmesean   
9   Capicolla   
10   Marinara (Garlic)   
11   Clams with original juice / Garlic / Oregano / Oil   
12   Margarita   
13   Onion / Shitake  / Balsamic / Parmesean   
14   Margarita   
15   Strombolli - Pepperoni / Mozz / Fresh Tomato / Sundried Tomato / Rosemary   
16   Thick pie w/ Parsley / Romano / Oil (Grandma's way)   
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on November 03, 2005, 03:53:59 PM
Jeff, I had a similar experience this week.  I hit Patsy's, Sally's. and Pepe's on Tuesday on my ride back from the NY pizza show.  It was hard to save room for the later places because my first pie at Patsy's turned out great. I did somehow manage to only eat three slices. It was my first time there trying the fresh mozzarella, and it made all the difference.  I can't say that it was cooked perfectly as it was a little light on the bottom when compared to the top, but still a great pie.

My next stop was Sally's.  This was my first time ever not seeing a line (probably because it was Tues night) and I sat right down.  It was still forever to get approached and get my pie, but well worth the wait.  Even with the processed mozzarella this pie was truly amazing.  The sauce, crust, and the general flavor of the pie were all top notch. I was able to sit at the mini booth right in front of the pizziolo and I saw him add what I am assuming was grated cheese, pepper, salt, for the dry ingredients (I didn't see any herbs on the pie).  Maybe they use Romano, Parmesan, and salt or something.  He definitely added three different dry seasonings.  He then added  two liquids, one that was obviously a good quality olive oil, but the other liquid stumped me.  He squirted on what really looked like water.  It was totally clear, and definitely the viscosity of water not oil. There was a slight onion flavor to the pies, which I am assuming is being cooked into the sauce, but I am stumped.  Does anybody have any idea what this could have been?

My last stop was Pepe's right down the street.  I had never been able to try Pepe's and Sally's with visits closer than a month apart, so it was time to do a back to back comparison.  Both places are obviously making the same type of pie.  I have heard people say that one place is thicker than the other, but on this day they both had exactly the same thickness, and amount of sauce and cheese.   As soon as I ordered I started to get worried when I realized that unlike the first two places, this was a college (or possibly high school) kid making the pies.  To my surprise he actually did a great job, but the quality of the ingredients is holding this place back.  The sauce and cheese were very obviously a big step down from Sally's, and a decent step down from Patsy's as well.  I don't know if it was just that day, but Pepe's uses a TON of Romano put on last after the mozzarella.  One squirt of oil, and the pies are in the oven. 

One thing is for sure, the oven at Patsy's was way hotter then the New Haven places, and the final crust really showed what that difference can do.  The Patsy's pies had the fluffiest most tender crust, but the really hot oven makes it hard for them to make a consistent product.  Pepe's oven was not hot at all that day, and the pie took over twice as long to cook as Patsy's.  Sally's was right in the middle.  The sauce at Sally's is miles ahead of the other two.  The moral of the story is if you are in New Haven, take the time to wait for Sally's!
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on February 02, 2006, 08:09:14 PM
I traveled to NYC for the weekend and managed to stop by Patsy’s Pizzeria on the way to the hotel. As background, I consider Patsy’s to be the finest example of coal-fired elite pizza in the city and perhaps the world.

Lucky for me John, the owner, was there and seemed willing to share his knowledge and history of Patsy’s so I went on a fascinating journey with him. Apparently John was a history major in college and history is his passion. What makes him unique is that he knows very little about pizza, if anything. Unlike most pizzerias, Patsy’s exists due to John’s love of history not his love of pizza. It was a good story for him, and he decided to buy the place. Due to his keen sense of history, Patsy’s is in great hands as a result. John wants to redecorate Patsy’s one day with the original artifacts found throughout the building. He owns nearly the entire block lest the convenience store (which is owned by a Chinese family who got their first break in America by getting a job with Patsy Lancieri many years ago). So he has gobs and gobs of historical artifacts from which to pay tribute to the history of the place. You could sum up his approach as not wanting to change a thing for fear of screwing something up. He wants it to be an original.

Our conversation covered other areas I never thought would be shared. For instance, I had always wondered if the current coal-fired oven was the original so I steered the conversation there. It seemed to be constructed in a way which didn’t look like it came from 1933, the year Patsy’s opened, so I wandered down the uncertain path of questioning the very thing which makes Patsy’s special.

Unfortunately the answer was no. It was not the original. I felt somewhat dejected. Everything about Patsy’s was original except for the one thing that really counted. My mind was racing about how to delicately question the original’s fate. He explained the current oven was located originally in the far left hand side of the building and was relocated to its current position on the far right of the building. “The current oven?" I inquired, "what about the original?”

Much to my surprise, John asked if I would be interested in seeing the original. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it still existed and thanked the heavens I brought my trusty Cyber-shot to memorialize the moment. We went outside and opened up a pair of large metal doors built into the sidewalk, then down a flight of stairs we went leading to the basement.

Ah yes, the basement. It was like hopping into a DeLorean and time warping back to 1933. Every sense I had was yelling that something very special was about to happen. We were guided only by the thin light of John’s flashlight and a mysterious gravitational pull from the rear of the building. It was like I had walked down the hallway a thousand times, yet I am certain I have never been there before. The long and dark corridor featured 6’ high ceilings which were oozing pure history. I swear I could smell the yeasty scent of the Varazano preferment. I was on sensory overload and loving every moment.

We then went through another doorway and John pointed out a true relic to his left - the original pedal operated cheese grater Patsy’s wife used to grate balls of mozzarella. It looked like a cross between a heavy duty Singer sewing machine and a mid-evil torture device. The belt drive had long rotted away but the unit itself was in operable condition. What a sight to see. I had never even imagined such a device even existed. My heart was fluttering with anticipation when John said to look at the back wall. He shined his light along the building’s back wall and asked what I thought. There it was. There I stood at the altar of an original coal-fired NYC pizza oven. I was speechless!

The entire back wall, measuring some twenty feet across, was a brick oven. While words cannot adequately describe my sense of excitement, I Immediately thought of Pepe’s in New Haven. John agreed that Pepe’s is the closest he has ever seen to his mammoth oven. I had to touch the bricks. I had to inspect the inside of the oven. What old world craftsmanship!

The facing bricks were white porcelain and in excellent condition, once you smeared the layers of dirt from their face. The corners featured curved bricks. The inside of the oven was caked with mounds of dirt but the structure seemed intact. John was passionate about his intention of restoring this beast of an oven to its original glory. I have no doubt that one day he will. He thinks it could be a five year project to make all the building changes necessary to run a commercial operation.

He then went on to show another brick oven in the basement of his apartment located next store. This oven was found concealed behind the hot water heater and was blocked over. John, sensing what might lie beyond the cinder block took a claw hammer and revealed the truth. Another brick oven. This oven was not commercial and was perhaps 48” in diameter. It seems as if the entire block had brick ovens. Italians back in the 1930’s, living on 1st avenue, must have cooked everything in a brick oven. A chicken in every pot and a brick oven in every home!

I spent a while longer with John investigating the stuff strewn about his basement. The proudest of which was a picture of his father. It was from 1940. The photo showed his father being awarded the gold medal from the 1940 pre-Olympics. A humble man John explained. He further explained that the 1940 Olympics never came about due to the sober realities of WWII, so his father never got the chance to be the world’s best athlete in his sport.

At this point I had to have a Patsy’s Pizza pie. So we ended our sojourn and went upstairs to the restaurant where I ordered a plain cheese. I ended up adding another slice before whipping out my trusty MT-6 non contact thermometer. John smiled and gently warned me that the oven hadn’t reached its desired operating temperature yet but that it was sufficient for the lunch volume. I learned the oven is fired at about 9am every day and it really takes until 5pm before it reaches full temperature. I measured the oven at exactly high noon. It was discovered that the deck temperature where the pizzaiolo normally bakes the pie (on the far left side which is away from the coal), registered a mere 756 degrees. The ceiling came in at 920 degrees. About halfway from where the pies are normally cooked to the mass of coal measured 837 degrees. In all fairness, the pizzaiolo stated that the temperature was only warm. He claims it takes three minutes to bake a pie when the oven is warm and only 90 seconds when it is hot. He rotates the pie just once whether the oven is warm or hot during the bake so as to not burn one side or the other. He also confirmed that hot is right around 5pm – just before the dinner crowd. 

I have more pictures of my amazing adventure and trust the membership will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them. They are located in the Pizzeria and Restaurant Reviews section of this board.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: abc on February 02, 2006, 09:21:20 PM
He owns nearly the entire block lest the convenience store (which is owned by a Chinese family who got their first break in America by getting a job with Patsy Lancieri many years ago). So he has gobs and gobs of historical artifacts from which to pay tribute to the history of the place. You could sum up his approach as not wanting to change a thing for fear of screwing something up. He wants it to be an original.



wha?  he owns nearly an entire block?  damn he's like a billionaire.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Ronzo on February 02, 2006, 11:13:53 PM
pftaylor...

In response to those pics of that lucious NY pie, all I have to say is...



DUDE!!!!!!!


SWEET!!!!!


;)



That looks delicious.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on February 03, 2006, 05:42:52 AM
nytxn,
I appreciate your enthusiasm about the Patsy's pie. I love their pies and have come to appreciate their special place in the pizza world. They make the best coal-fired pizza in the city in my opinion. When you combine it with the history of the place, it makes for a very satisfying overall experience.

I just wish they knew how to make a better Margherita. The sweet spot for Patsy's is a plain cheese pie or plain cheese slices. The price just went up to $2.00 per slice which is reasonable since the pies are cut in only six slices and not eight. I must confess however, that it wasn't as good as it looked. The crust was a little cracker-like due to the coal-fired oven not being at optimum temperature. The crust had little if any spring. Also the pizzaiolo on duty was not the master - Jose. Jose has been there since 1976 and can make a stellar pie when he puts his mind to it. When he doesn't put his mind into it, like last Easter, then the results are mediocre at best.

abc,
John is just a regular guy who has an eye for all things historical. I'm pretty sure his purchase of the original Patsy's Pizzeria location came at a bargain price. The surrounding neighborhood is just now becoming safe once again. For years it was not a safe place to be after dark. In fact, if you were to examine the pictures of the building you may notice numerous bullet holes in the green metal above the windows.

Truth be told, he had to license the Patsy's name to a Greek pizza making family (of Nick's Pizza making fame) to swing the mortgage. As the neighborhood continues to improve at a lightning pace, I wouldn't be surprised if John doesn't end up as a millionaire if he chooses to sell. His plan, as near as I can tell, is to restore Patsy's Pizzeria to it's original glory for two primary reasons. First, it would satisfy his historical sense of things and second, it would maximize his investment. Now there is an example of a guy who is able to make money with his passion.

I consider him to be very lucky indeed.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: foodblogger on February 03, 2006, 08:53:43 AM
pftaylor,
I am testing your dough prep protocol on a number of different doughs.  It looks solid.  My doughs will be ready to bake on Sunday.  Thanks for all the work you did and thanks to all the people who contributed to the process.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on February 04, 2006, 07:24:41 AM
foodblogger,
Many months of effort were spent honing and polishing each and every facet of the dough preparation and stretching didactics for Pizza Raquel (an artisan version of a Patsy's Pizza) and Pizza Sophia (an original creation). Every time a change was introduced, I made sure it was measurable by changing only one variable at a time. I continued to introduce change until the return on investment stalled and the results didn't measurably improve. It was an exhausting process but one which I reasoned would be leveragable across a broad expanse of recipes. In the end, the finalized sequence was more robust than I had a right to expect. I trust the process will yield improved results no matter how much you deviate from the Raquel or Sophia recipes.

The crowning achievement was when I liberated Pizza Sophia dough from the bench and was able to freely toss the soft dough in the air to aid in forming the size skin desired. Up until that point, Caputo based doughs were generally too soft to perform air stretching manuevers. I was bound and determined to make a 16" Caputo-based skin. And in order to do that, I needed a more competent handling dough.

By this time the Pizza Raquel dough was completely robust and manageable. It was a difficult balance to achieve. I was practically laughing every time I made Raquel dough because the margin of error was so vast I literally could not make a bad batch. Results were linear each and every time. That's when I truly knew I was on to something. And the thing is, I managed to do this with the most common of mixers - KitchenAid. Which proved the old pizza adage about the most important ingredient in pizza making is the pizzaiolo. I will admit that the reproducibility of my results leapt when I began using not one but two scales to measure the ingredients. One for ultra precise measurements for salt, yeast, and water. Yet another for the flour. The lesson learned is to weigh all ingredients every time.

I look forward to you sharing your results foodblogger. My advice is to never give up.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: foodblogger on February 06, 2006, 08:55:56 AM
pftaylor,
I have good results to report.  I made 2 pizzas using your dough processing protocol.  One was an American chain pizzeria style pizza.  That pizza used a 57.1% hydration.  For full details see this thread:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1515.20.html
The other pizza was using a dough I have been working on based on DOC specifications, but modified by using a flour that is more readily available to me.  That dough has a 63% hydration.

The most noticeable effect of the autolyse and various resting stages is that the kneed time is significantly reduced.  I followed your protocols exactly.  The 63% dough seemed to be ready after the 5 minute kneed.  The 57.1% dough looked like it could use a little more kneeding, but it ended up working out in the end.

The part of your protocol that seemed to make the biggest difference in the final outcome was the shaping protocol swiped from Patsy's.  I included a 5 minute rest between each of the shaping steps.  The 63% dough was so easy to stretch that I accidently stretched it to 16 inches when I had originally planned on stretching to 12.  The result was a thickness factor of .056 instead of 0.10.  My old pizza peel would only take a 12 inch pizza, but I recently purchased an 18 inch richlite peel so it was all good.  The crust had excellent oven spring with nice different sized bubbles in the rim, a nice leathery/chewy (although very very thin) bottom and just the right amount of crispness.

The 57.1% dough was a little more difficult to shape but still much easier than I am used to.

If I were to modify your protocol at all it would be to put rests between each shaping step.  I think you originally had rests listed.  I would also include the trick where you run a piece of dental floss under the dressed pie right before you slide it off the peel into the oven.  The pie slid off very nicely with no shenanigans.

My current project involves tweaking the hydration % of my DOC based dough.  Later this week I will try your protocol with a 65% hydration.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on February 06, 2006, 07:20:42 PM
foodblogger,
Ah the sweet taste of pizza induced success. Congratulations are in order. I'm glad the protocols helped. Tweak where you feel it will be most beneficial. I know that in my home, using the protocols the membership here helped develop, I am able to produce killer pies each and every time.

Climbing the pizza mountain of enlightenment is never easy. One can never willingly go backward either. Which, in my opinion, makes this a very cumulative hobby where knowledge really does help.

My sense is you are now trapped. Yep, you are caught in a vicious cycle where the pie you are making today is a better pie than the one before it. Kindly share photographs of your journey...
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: foodblogger on February 07, 2006, 09:33:58 AM
Quote
My sense is you are now trapped. Yep, you are caught in a vicious cycle where the pie you are making today is a better pie than the one before it.

Pizzamaking and cooking in general is a very pleasant addiction for me.  I went through this with deep dish over the course of 16 years and I am finally at the point where I am comfortable with my recipe/techniques.  I'll be the first to say that a LOT more goes in to making a perfect thin crust pizza.  I'm glad I found this board before I got too serious about thin crust.  I probably would have gone through trial and error for another 16 years before I figured out 'the protocol'.  Now that I have a dough protocol I can focus on experimenting with formula.

Quote
Kindly share photographs of your journey...

My digital camera lept to its death about a month ago.  At the bottom of the post is the last picture it took.  I was trying to make schawarma at home.  That is a whole different story.  Long story short I am back to working with film until I can replace the Nikon.  Pictures are coming, it just takes me a while.

In other news, I used your protocol last night to make a 65% hydration dough.  So far the trend has been that your method works better in my hands with a higher hydration percent.  I have made 3 different ones so far: 57.1, 63 and 65%.  The 65% has felt the best so far in the final 2 minute hand knead.

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: PizzaBrasil on February 07, 2006, 01:19:32 PM
pftaylor:

Since I had reached this site a long time ago, it remains between my favorite ones and, using your own terms, I am trapped in the (frequently more than one time) day reading of it. Always learning, as Pete-zza claims! (at least trying to! – G -).
Having a brick-oven in my backyard, the week-ends are, actually, the days when I paid reverence to the Pizza God´s :-).
And I use to fulfill this sacrifice (G) with any one of the next three (or a combination of them) recipes: the reverse Varasano Patsy´s dough, the Tom Lehmann Pete-zza or yours Raquel one. The results are always blessed (despite a little waist increment!).
This prologue is just to say that, IMHO, there is time to have a new topic with a resume of each one of these dough recipes, with the latest formula and techniques.
Could you imagine a newbie try to learn / practice all this stuff at a time?
By the way, it is not time to do a roadmap of the roadmap from Pete-zza? (just kidding, I admire your dedication!)
As always, thanks you all.

Luis
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on February 07, 2006, 02:45:25 PM
Luis,

pftaylor can correct me on this, but I don't believe that he has changed his basic Raquel formulation to any significant degree. Even with the Lehmann formulation, it is essentially the same from a baker's percent perspective as when I started. I tried different flours, hydration ratios, machines, and dough sizes/weights, but with the exception of the experiments where I used preferments, the baker's percents remained much the same. The objective in all cases was to convert an essentially commercial dough recipe to one for use in the home by ordinary home pizza makers using ordinary dough prepping equipment and ordinary home ovens. To help the newbie with the Lehmann NY style, some of us contributed recently to the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html. If I were a commercial operator with commercial equipment, I would use the basic formulation created by Tom Lehmann and posted at PMQ.com, and I would follow the accompanying dough preparation steps.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on February 07, 2006, 07:54:20 PM
Pete-zza is correct. I have not changed the basic Pizza Raquel formulary from below:

16oz  100%   KASL Flour
9.6oz   60%   Bottled or Filtered Water
.32oz     2%   Sicilian Sea Salt
.01oz .0625%Baker's Pinch of Yeast (IDY)
1.3oz    8%    Preferment (Optional)

Nor have I changed the basic preparation and stretching protocols from these:

Mandatory Preparation Steps
1 - Stir water and salt with spoon/whisk until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. (I use a Kitchen Aid)
2 - Add approximately half the flour first, then the yeast. Fit stand mixer with hook attachment.
3 - Mix 30 seconds on stir to incorporate yeast.
4 - Add preferment (Optional. But it does add undeniable flavor)
5 - Mix 1 minute on stir to incorporate preferment. (Optional)
6 - Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP (or you will die painfully).
7 - Mix on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually over the 5 minute mix.
8 - Mix on 2/3 for 5 minutes.
9 - Check dough temperature with digital thermometer; it should be 80 degrees at the hook.
10 Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP (Or you will die really painfully).
11 Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on a very lightly floured (if at all) prep area.
12 Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, place dough into bowls, cover with shower caps.
13 Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24+ hours.
14 On the following day(s), remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

Mandatory Stretching Steps  
1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well. Dust prep area with flour.
2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Keep well dusted.
3 - Press fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 10 inches round. Keep well dusted.
4 - Place hands palm down inside rim and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round.
5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"+/-
6 - Place on floured peel and dress with favorite toppings.
7 - Peel dressed skin into preheated grill/oven (1 hr+ at max temp) outfitted with tiles.
8 - Bake until lightly or heavily charred (more flavor).

What I have consistently improved upon is the why Pizza Raquel works so well. How did I do that? Well, that's a good question. The answer lies in the driving force behind all that I do. Let me start by stating my firm belief about life: There is a difference between data and information. How does that relate to pizza? Everything about Raquel and Sophia is based on better information, not just meaningless bits of data. All the data flows into useable information where the outcome is ensured. Recipes by themselves have no value. The true value of a formulary like Raquel or Sophia is the problem that they overcome and/or the outcome they produce.  The value is in the way they solve existing pizza making problems or in the way they allow you to do things you weren't capable of doing before.

Raquel and Sophia overcome a number of pizza making problems and inevitably produce glorious pies. The sequencing of preparation steps combined with quality ingredients will improve one's pies. I guarantee it. Consider it my Six Sigma fly-specked process of pizza making. Six Sigma is really all about how much deviation from expected norms one should expect. Raquel and Sophia are remakable for their ability to deliver solid results time after time. Its almost like putting on an old pair of shoes where you know before hand exactly how your feet will feel.

What you may notice first about the formulary listed above is that I did not post volumetric quantities of ingredients. This is not an oversight but rather intentional. If someone wants to reproduce a Raquel they will have to buy a scale. Same goes for a Sophia. I am convinced they should not be attempted without one. This requirement makes Raquel and Sophia an aquired taste. It is for those home pizza makers who strive to reach artisan levels of outcome. I know a couple of "feel" artisan home pizza makers but they are the clear exception. Raquel and Sophia are not for everyone. But they are reserved for those who have that inner drive to climb higher up the pizza mountain of enlightenment. I have put training wheels on the recipe a little bit by making the use of a preferment as optional. This allows those aspiring artisans the opportunity to date Raquel before marrying her. Once you graduate to the use of a preferment, you will not want to go backwards. The taste enhancement is simply too beneficial.

Things such as insisting on the use of a scale have become mandatory now. Other than a super hot source of heat outfitted with a stone or bricks, I cannot think of a single tool which is more instrumental to repeatedly achieving success. The more accurate the better. I have two. A super precise one for weighing water, yeast and salt. The other, postal quality, for weighing flour.

I have not specified a hard set of ingredients but if I had to, the ingredients one could use as a solid base to launch their pizza making exploits from would be:
1) Vacuum packed Fresh Mozzarella such as Biazzo (available from Sam's Club)
2) Fresh tomatoes such as Florida Ugly Ripes, washed, drained and ground up by a hand blender
3) Fresh spices such as Oregano, Basil, and Sicilian Sea Salt should be added only after baking

What will all this produce? Local pizza joints better look out. I have also proven to myself that a dedicated home pizza maker can easily match and often times surpass the commercial efforts of legendary pizzerias. Why? well lots of reasons come to mind. Pizzerias win in the area of having a better heat source (most of the time). But we have a better outcome more often than not due to better protocols and higher quality ingredients. I started out this thread many months ago trying to reverse engineer a Patsy's pizza. I have long since achieved that goal and frankly surpassed it by a country mile. It wasn't really that hard in the end once the cumlative knowledge of the membership here began to collaborate and percolate. I just didn't know what I didn't know, which made asking the right questions tough to develop.

Oh yeah, there is one other thing we have that 99.999999% of the pizzerias don't have - passion. We want it more than they do. That is the difference betwween a good pie and a great pie. Don't believe me? Come to Tampa and find out... 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: PizzaBrasil on February 08, 2006, 07:34:18 AM
Pete-zza, pftaylor:

Passion!. That really is a good word to meaning why I like (love?) this site. May be that I just figure out this at this exact moment, but, yeah, this feeling is the master key behind our pizza world.
Satisfaction, with the progress in baking, with the obtained results reflected in our family and friends faces and with the always learning precept is the reward of us, readers of each one of your lines.
Thanks you by your answers.
And, of course, I do not need to go to Tampa to believe you!

Luis
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: foodblogger on February 09, 2006, 08:29:27 AM
Pftaylor,
Results are in for the 65% hydration dough using your protocol - very very good.  After the cold fermentation step the dough was easy to work and shaped with no problems.  I was planning on trying a 67% but the dough is just beginning to stick to the gallon ziplock bags that I proofed in.  I decided instead to make a 66%.  When I make that dough up I will post results.  The film for the 57.1, 63 and 65 is being processed now.  Hopefully will have pics in the next couple days.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on February 10, 2006, 07:30:38 AM
foodblogger,
Your pizza making skills seem to serve you well with a variety of recipes. Kindly post a little about where you are headed with your home pizza making and let's collaborate on achieving it. It helps to know the destination so I can put your comments in the proper context. For instance, is there a high hydration type commercial pie you are trying to replicate?
 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: foodblogger on February 10, 2006, 02:56:47 PM
Pftaylor,
I'm getting some film developed.  I'm going to make a new thread sometime early next week with what I have been working on.  It uses your dough protocol with a few minor modifications to make it work in my kitchen.  Hopefully people can make it even better.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: myxsix on March 03, 2006, 10:48:04 AM
It just occurs to me that having grown up in NY, I took all the pizza I ate for granted. I remember reading somewhere in this thread about the dangers of Patsy's location in addition to it going downhill a little. Well, I just remembered something that may be of interest to some of you. In Port Washington, NY on Long Island (about 40 min from NYC) there is a pizzeria called Salvatore's - he is a newphew or some close relation of the Patsy's guy. The pizza there is very, very good and may be of interest to all of you.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: snowdy on March 13, 2006, 05:19:57 AM
FYI, i havent read back on this post much but i thought i should add that my Brother and his wife moved to NYC about 6 months ago to 107th street and went to Patsy's. They went on a Friday night around 7 and said there was only 2 other people in the joint.

We live in Southern California so i would think Patsy's would be amazing to him after reading so much about it. He said it wasnt that much better than our favorite joint here at home and that it good, but not great. He ranks Lombardi's (his favorite) and di fara in a class of their own, and even said Sal & Carmine's on Broadway better.

Also of note, his wife did not care for it AT ALL, and even said it made her sick for a day.

I dont know if its gone down hill or what, but knowing how pizza is here where we live and for them to say it wasnt any better to me means it must have gone down hill. Their favorite joints in order are 1) Lombardi's (my bro says its the freshest ingredients he's had, no grease and nice smokey flavor to crust)... 2) di fara (his wife puts di fara as #1... and 3) sal & carmines (mostly because of the locality factor, its right by their house and a lot better than ray's)...... they havent been to john's, grimaldi's, totonno's yet, una pizza napoletana... yet .. im trying to get them to go :)

but my bro is a pizza man like me and he says he has no desire to go back to patsy's... maybe the grimaldi's clan took what was good with them and ran.  ::)
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: itsinthesauce on March 13, 2006, 07:43:17 AM
That's unreal. My brother was there last week and he got sick as well.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 13, 2006, 07:56:51 AM
snowdy,
I glad you are back. I have missed your pizza passion.

Regarding Patsy's, pizza really is a hit or miss cycle isn't it? On a single visit to a pizzeria, anything can happen. I have had the best commercial pie I have ever eaten there and then again I have had pedestrian pie as well.

I'm not sure I agree with the Lombardi's comparison very much though. On average, Patsy's outshines Lombardi's by a few city blocks. The last time I went to Lombardi's my group didn't want finish our pies due to its poor taste. They all tasted like recycled cardboard. It was really an awful experience. Over the years, I have had better pies than that at Lombardi's but never great pies. Lombardi's, to me, is really a tourist trap much like Tavern on The Green. All name and nothing to back it up. In my opinion, Lombardi's has the cheapest ingredients, a bready crust and absolutely no flavor to speak of - other than what the coal-fired oven imparts. It does however, have a manufactured atmosphere which is something Patsy's has none of. So for tourists, I see the attraction. Patsy's can be somewhat scary in terms of location but it is original and true to its heritage. 

Moving to Brooklyn, Domenic has the worst tasting crust of any elite pizzeria. Pizza Hut's is better and I really mean that statement. Dom spends virtually no effort on dough. It is no more than an afterthought in his world. His toppings though, more than make up for his apparent lack of interest in flavorful crust. He spares no expense when it comes to the best of the best toppings wise. So I guess if one is a crust-man than Patsy's is a clear favorite. If you are a toppings-man than Di Fara would be the pizzeria of choice. Lombardi's has neither good crust or good toppings so I cannot put it in this group. The other restaurant you mentioned, I've not eaten at.

I am planning on taking a spring break and will go the city for a few days of eating pizza and will report back my findings. If Patsy's has gone downhill since my last visit of a couple of months ago, I will unhappily report the facts.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 13, 2006, 08:08:45 PM
In my opinion Patsy's was the worst pizza That I ever had, and I include Pizza hut in Glasgow-Scotland in 2000  in the comparison...

I believe to be in the position to judge if there was something that did not work (that is what i get paid for),  as I can recognise a misfermentation, bad cooking etc... There was not a real issue with those, just a poor recipe/process/sourcing of ingredients.

Please read more on my chitchat post.

If you really would like to send someone to a good pizzeria, aske them to check Luzzo's (the crust and the cooking may still needs improvement for my standards, but it is way better then any Neo-Napolitan joint), which I also believe surpass the Una Pizza Napoletana effort even without a Wood fired oven (the word around is that they will open a new restaurant somewhere with a Neapolitan Oven...)

Ciao
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on March 14, 2006, 08:56:19 AM
Wow. Three or four well respected members all chime in with the same negative feedback. I'm not sure I want to risk going back this weekend if half of what was reported is true.

I will check out Luzzo's though which is a joint I have heard of but never have eaten at. It looks like it is close to UPN so I might be able to kill two pies at once. I will have a full report upon my return next week.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2006, 04:47:31 PM
 Hey pft,

Sad to hear about Patsy's. I had 2 pies there in September. The first pie was great - shades of the old patsy's. The   next pie, 10 minutes later was just TERRIBLE. I don't get it. You'd never know it came from the same place. Peter, your photo's of patsy's basement and your story were really great to read!

I haven't posted in a long time. I've been out of it for a while. I have done a few experiments in the last 6 months and have a few things to report:

First off, I'm going to brag a bit. Some of my latest pies have been amazing. Light, springy, sweet sauce, perfect char, depth of flavor. I really feel like I've hit the big time with some of these pies. I've had about 8 or 9 pies from brick oven places around the country, including at least 3 VPN places and the new No 28 on Carmine Street. Frankly, I beat them all right here in my electric oven. I'm still not up to the old patsy's and some of the top NYC places, but when my pies are on, they are right up there.

Second: I've had some luck using Marco's very little yeast, no cold rise strategy. I've gotten some very good pies out of this, but not my best. Two minor problems. First, the sourdough flavor it a bit too strong and tangy. Not much of a difference, but a bit too much. Second, the dough is hard too control. It could be ready in 16 hours or 21 hours. It's hard to regulate unless you kind of watch it and move it from hot to cold spots. This is fine if you are staring at dough all day running a pizza place, but for home use, it's a pain. I'd do it if the pies came out better, but they really don't.

I'm going to get technical here. I'm also going to make up some numbers to give some meaningful and clear examples. So don't quote me on exact times and values, I'm trying to give the theory here.  Here's what I realize:

The amount of starter you use is not that relevant, because it doubles fast and permeates the dough anyway. It makes a difference, but not much. Assume all these recipes have the same small amount of culture.

Here are some concepts.
- A sourdough culture consists of 2 agents:
    - Yeast: a leavening agent
    - Lactobacilli: a fermentation and flavoring agent For the sake of example, let's say that a pie is perfect when each agent has performed 100% of it's job.  If one is at 100% and the other at 130%, then something is off, by definition.

- The yeast slows down a lot when it's cold. The lactobacilli slows down less when it's cold.
- You cannot vary the relative starting quantities of the sourdough yeast and lactobacilli. They are bound together.
- Baker's yeast is a leavening agent which can rises faster than sourdough yeast, but adds little flavor.

These are the inputs. Now, the idea is to find a formula that creates 100% leavening and 100% flavoring. From here it's a bit of algebra. There are several ways reaching balance, but let me focus on just 2 variables:
- The Cold/Warm rise times, which vary the relative speed for the 2 sourdough agents
- The amount of baker's yeast.

Look at this chart for a moment:

Cold Rise    Warm Rise    Baker's Yeast            Flavor
None          20 hrs               0 g                        Too Tangy
1 Day         6 hrs                 1 g                        Pretty Tangy
2 Days        3 hrs                 2 g                        Excellent
3 Days        1 hr                  4 g                        Excellent

This is a bit hard to explain. The sourdough yeast and the Lactobacilli are both working, but their RELATIVE speeds vary depending on temperature. By definition, you want a pie when both have done 100% of their job: The yeast has added 100% of the puff and the lactobacilli has added 100% of the flavor. But by cooling the dough, the lactobacilli will slow less and begin to outpace the yeast.  You bake when the yeast has added 100% of the rise you need. But where is the lactobacilli in it's job at that time? During a pure warm rise (row 1 in chart at 72 F),  with the yeast culture I'm using, the lactobacilli has probably done 130% of it's job. So it's too tangy.

If I put the dough in the fridge (still no baker's yeast) and let it sit a day, it's even worse. The lactobacilli are still going and get a head start on the cold-stunted yeast. Let's say that the yeast has done only 10% of it's job in the cold, while the Lactobacilli has already done 50% of it's job.  So, now the rise takes 10% less time - it takes 18 hours to hit 100%. Where is the lactobacilli? After 18 hours It's at 180%.  It's out of balance and terrible.  So it's way too sour.

So what can I do?  I calculate that since my lactobacilli is 50% there, it will take it only another 6 hours to get to 100% of the flavoring. I can now add just enough baker's yeast (a flavorless leavening booster) so that so that the leavening will take the same 6 hours. Let's say that's 1g.

If I do a 2 day cold rise, the lactobacilli is at 75% of the flavoring right out of the fridge, while the yeast is at 20% of leavening. I need just 3 hours to get all the flavor. But I'd need 16 hours without a boost. No good.  I have to add enough baker's yeast to rise from 20% to 100% in just 3 hours. So I double the amount of baker's yeast to 2 g.

If I do a 3 day cold rise, the lactobacilli is at 95% of the flavoring right out of the fridge, while the yeast is at 30% of leavening. I need just 1 hour to get all the flavor. But I'd need 14 hours without a boost. No good.  I have to add enough baker's yeast to rise from 30% to 100% in just 1 hours. So I double the amount of baker's yeast again to 4 g.

Get it? The longer the cold rise, the more the flavor outpaces the yeast, so the more baker's yeast booster I need to bring things into balance.

Once you understand this, it give you more control and options. For example. I see that with a warm rise and 0g baker's yeast, my dough is out of balance, with the yeast at 100% and the lactobacilli at 130%. How can I fix this? Well understanding the theory gives me at least 2 possibilities: I could add some baker's yeast to bring the rise down from 20 hrs to 15 hrs, thus stopping the lactobacilli at just the right time. Or I could raise the temperature to a heated rise (maybe 85F) to speed up the yeast so it goes as fast as the lactobacilli.

I hope this is not too confusing. It took me a long time to see all this. But once you get this, believe me it really helps a lot.

The problem now is to work out the formulas in exact detail. In real life, these formulas vary by hours and that's pretty hard to take when a 15 hour rise is dinner time and a 20 hour rise is 1 AM.  Guests don't like to wait for that extra 5 hours to get the dough just right.  In a pizza parlor, I'm sure they use a gut feel and move the dough from warm to cool places based on experience. But with this new understanding I hope to tighten formula. Unfortunately, I have little time for experimentation.

Also, let me note that my 100% leavening is much less than ever before.  I now run much wetter and less leavened than I have in the past. Maybe 30-40% increase in volume. Maybe one day I'll do a displacement test to see for sure.

The bottom line of these formulas is that the easiest and most reliable method is the 2 or 3 day cold rise.  The flavoring happens in the background and you can pop the dough out of the fridge a few hours before baking. My pies last week were a dream. I used these techniques to do a 3 day rise. The dough came out of the fridge as the oven went on and my dough management couldn't have been easier.  In an hour it was ready and the pies were awesome.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2006, 04:58:08 PM
The Brick Oven,

I've met up with a member of this site who lives near me and has a brick oven. So we've struck up a barter. I'm coaching in technique and in turn I'm getting some practice with the oven.  The first round was just OK. When I go there the oven was up to 1000F, but the wood embers were spread all over the baking surface. As soon as they were swept to one side the temp began to drop. The first pie went it at 800F but by the time it came out about 3 min later, the underlying brick was just 650F. The stone continued to fall in temp all the way down to 400F and after hours of stoking we never got it much above 600. All but the first pie were 6-8 minutes.

Here's what I learned: A 7 min pie in a brick oven is way better than a 7 min pie in my electric. It has a nice flavor, but of course is still no match for a 2 min pie. So my electric still made the better pie. But once we get the heat problems worked out, I'm optimistic that the brick oven will win.

What I'm not sure of still is the whole wood vs coal thing. I've NEVER had a great wood slice. All the top NY places are coal and all the non-NY wood places I've had are mediocre or just bad. So I'm not sure what's going on. The embers themselves never got much about 1000F, which seems low to maintain 800F throughout the oven. But we'll see. I'm hunting down some coal and looking into techniques to manage the oven better. It was just a first attempt.

Jeff
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on March 15, 2006, 10:21:40 PM
When I go there the oven was up to 1000F, but the wood embers were spread all over the baking surface. As soon as they were swept to one side the temp began to drop. The first pie went it at 800F but by the time it came out about 3 min later, the underlying brick was just 650F. The stone continued to fall in temp all the way down to 400F and after hours of stoking we never got it much above 600. All but the first pie were 6-8 minutes.
In my experience, which is limited solely to my own oven, a live fire is important to keep the deck up to temp. With lots of practice, I've become better at maintaining a fairly even deck temp between pies. I toss in small pieces of wood to keep the fire just right, not too big, not too small. The deck under the pizza is somewhat cooler immediately after removing a pie, but recovers fairly quickly. I've never seen such a sharp drop as you've observed. Perhaps your friend's oven has a much smaller thermal mass or doesn't have as much insulation.

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 15, 2006, 10:46:04 PM
It was a very, very small oven. Maybe 2 - 3 pies could fit in there, but I can't see cooking more than 2 at a clip. I think that may be part of it. I'll look into the insulation issue with her.

When you say, not to big or small, what do you mean. Is it too hot if the fire is too big? 

I was under the impression that the real heat came after the flames died because the embers are hotter than the flame. But now I'm not so sure of this.

I instinctively tried to move the pie to new hot spots as it baked because I know that the stone cools under the pie. But at such low temps it only helped a little bit.

How long does it take to get up to temp. pft says patsy's starts the fire at 9AM and it's 5PM till its all the way there.   Ugh.

Have you found that positioning the wood makes a difference. Is there a lot of indraft of fresh air that can cool the deck if the fire is in the wrong spot?  Do you have a door?  All the NY coal places have iron doors, but none of the wood ovens I've seen have them.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on March 16, 2006, 12:41:47 AM
Jeff,

My oven is also very small. The fire/coals consume maybe 1/3 of the area and there is room for maybe 2-3 small pies, but I can really only manage one at a time. If I add too much wood, the temperature can be too hot. My Neapolitan-style dough using only natural starter seems to prefer an 850F-900F deck. I start the fire 4-5 hours before the meal.

Not sure about embers being hotter than the flame, but adding more wood not only restores heat lost during baking, but the flames arc up the dome and down onto the pie so the toppings are done when the crust is done.   

Positioning the wood does seem to make a difference in keeping the deck hot. Lately I have been pushing the coals to both sides & maintaining two smaller live fires rather than one larger one although it is hard to tell how much of difference this makes - perhaps just less rotating is all.  There is a door, but I only use it when baking bread (at much lower temps). The door would prevent air from feeding the coals and fire and also, I couldn't see what is happening. These pies cook up in a minute.

I still need a lot more practice to get consistent results. At this point I suspect my dough management skills are more of a factor than fire management, although both are clearly critical. 

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on March 16, 2006, 01:12:21 AM
Thanks Bill. This gives me some direction for the next practice run
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on March 16, 2006, 02:46:16 AM
Bill, sorry if you have already posted this somewhere, but is your oven a commercially available model?  I have a friend who wants to put one in his back yard.  He is in the San Fran area.  Any Idea what I should recommend to him, and a rough idea on the price?

I was under the impression that all of the commercially available US made ovens had too high a dome to cook a pizza properly in one minute.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on March 16, 2006, 06:21:09 AM
Scott:

I built mine from a kit from JP's company: http://www.earthstoneovens.com/viewdetails.html#90. As I've mentioned before, if I had it to over again, I would have purchased the larger 110 model.

The statement that
Quote
all of the commercially available US made ovens had too high a dome to cook a pizza properly in one minute
is pretty sweeping. I think there are 2 considerations:

1) An expert should have no problem baking "proper" pizzas in one minute. I am far from an expert so I am still very inconsistent. The pies are always very good, but some are much better than others. And with experience they are getting better. I have had this oven for about 5 years, but, thanks to this forum, I recently made some radical changes to my dough (using Marco's starter, eliminating commercial yeast, and getting a Santos mixer) and those have greatly improved my pies but have put my dough management techniques back to square one.  I'm still doing a lot of tweaking and my goal is to be able to get consistent "wow!" results by the end of this year. Perhaps there is also a problem that my criteria for "wow!" are also evolving.

2) I think there is a big difference between an oven for home use and business use. I have no idea how my oven would perform in a restaurant environment where you need to pump out pies one after another all day long. I know JP will tell you that his ovens are in use in pizzerias around the world. There is one in town here, but they don't run the oven as hot as I do and their style is definitely "American".  I've been firing up my oven ~2 times week and cooking 3-4 pies per session. I would guess that an expert should have no problem using the larger version of my oven in a demanding professional environment, but that is pure speculation.

I would recommend that your friend contact JP to get all of the specs and pricing. You can get a kit or also a preassembled model which profoundly affects price and the amount of effort required. I would also look very closely at the preassembled model Marco is associated with: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1118.msg22942.html#msg22942   (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1118.msg22942.html#msg22942 ).

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Randy on March 16, 2006, 07:27:09 AM
Bill,
Have you tried adding natural charcoal after the fire burns down to control temperature.  I don't have a pizza oven but on my converted Lazy Q I add natural charcoal from the bag to the fire.  Seems like it would reduce spikes giving you a little more control.

Randy
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: PizzaBrasil on March 16, 2006, 09:25:12 AM
The annexed chart shows the brick oven temperature in a normal baking day.
The temperatures in this chart were measured when the dome oven was without isolation (just bricks on her side and half inch cladding).
Today it is a 42’ rounded oven with 3 inches of vermiculite isolation.
So, you could consider than an almost constant higher hearth temperature (800, 850°F) could be maintained during the baking time.
I am a weekend pizza baker, and I do not like to spend a lot of time waiting by the highest temperature than the oven could be reach. I normally start the fire 1 ½  hours before the first pie is going to bake and 800°F is good enough to me.
During the baking time there is always a flaming firewood (firewood and coals on oven side).
May be in a future I charge the oven with a lot of firewood and wait the necessary time to know the highest temperature that this oven could reach  ???
The yellow and blue lines (centro 2 cm piso – center hearth 1 inch of surface – and atras 2 cm piso – rear hearth 1 inch of surface measure -) shows the hearth temperatures during the complete cycle. The baking time is about 3 hours.
The pies are ready in 2, 21/2 minutes and they are excellent (in my Wow measure ;-)) (Thanks, Varasano for teaching us how to be there!)

Luis
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Bill/SFNM on March 16, 2006, 09:26:52 AM
Randy,

Thanks. I think I've got a pretty good handle on maintaining oven temps by tossing in a few small pieces of wood between pies. I don't think lump charcoal would produce flames to help bake the top of the pie.

Bill/SFNM
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on March 16, 2006, 10:28:43 AM
Few imputs:

When cooking pizza in a wood oven you need both ember and flames, a lot of flames...

You can control the lactobacilli/yeast ratios in a starter by the refreshing technique and starter consistency.  If the starter is too acid, no matter how little you add of it, the final dough will still be too acid/sour.

Yeast types (Saccaromyces, Candidas etc) and bacterias (including lactobacilli) are very similar vegetable organisms that work better by increasing temperatures and slow down by lowering temperature, and there are lot of studies on microfloras applied to dough that disagree with Jeff conclusions.... It is very hard to work with sourdough at room temperatures and that is where the best products come from... I have made some 36 hours rustic bread here in US that has blown away anyone who tried it. With the proper PH ratio and starter consistency, the yeast work much faster then the bacterias...

Ciao
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Randy on March 16, 2006, 10:59:18 AM
Just a thought Bill.

Great picture Luis.

What is the wood of choice for a pizza oven around the world?


Randy
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: tonymark on April 17, 2006, 11:08:01 PM
Last Thursday I created my first 3 minute pizza on my Big Green Egg (BGE) utilizing varasano’s Patsy’s culture. 

You can read more about the oven setup and procedure here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,412.msg25941.html#msg25941

Dough recipe (330 g dough balls for 13" pie):

100  % KA bread flour
62.5 % Water
15    %   Patsy’s culture
2.25 % salt

Sauce:

Cento Tomatoes pureed and strained
Locatelli Romano
Pinch sugar
Pinch salt

Cheese:

Polly-o whole milk mozzarella (not low moisture and not fresh in water)


Retarded dough for 3 days in fridge.  I did pull it out for about an hour on day 2 to give it a little boost because it seemed a little slow to me (bubbles minimal).  Removed from fridge 2 hours before bake.

I was experimenting with procedure and the first 2 pizzas were not quite right, but the 3rd pizza (Gorgonzola, pineapple and good balsamic) was perfect.  It cooked in 3 minutes.  I had never seen oven spring like that.  I am really on to something here.

FYI – I have no idea how close to Patsy’s pizza I am since I have never had their pizza, but this pizza was pretty good.  it is still not the same as Jeff’s pizza, which I had a few weeks ago.

I did not include a cross section picture, because none of those pictures were good specimens.

TM



Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: tonymark on April 20, 2006, 05:22:21 PM
Well, it looks like I cracked my BGE at these high temperatures.  You can read more about me getting a free replacement here http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,412.msg26038.html#msg26038.

All of these high temperature experiments on the BGE are now over.  I really thought I was about to achieve something great.

Back to 7 minute pizzas ...

TM
Title: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on October 07, 2006, 12:43:02 PM
Varasano,

I'm happy for you. It’s not often one of our fellow members gets positive press. You are finally getting the recognition you deserve for all your efforts to recreate NY style pies at home. But I feel as if I'm confused more now than ever.

First, I wasn't aware that Patsy's pizza was your goal anymore. Is it? In my view there is little in common between what you are producing today and what Patsy’s serves.

When I started the Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza thread shortly after you joined the forum, we both thought Patsy’s produced the best pie available. I'm no longer of that opinion. Surely your creations have far surpassed the original by now as well. Further, your style, like mine, is so loosely based on NY style pies that they are hardly recognizable anymore as Patsy clones. And why would they at this juncture? With the collaboration of the membership here we were able to easily surpass every aspect of a Patsy's pizza.

I started dating Raquel after conclusively determining a number of our upfront assumptions completely incorrect. The most famous of which was perhaps their lack of quality ingredients or was it their lack of using a starter? It doesn't really matter because in the end, we were able to prove Patsy's operated like most all the other coal oven joints in NYC - High heat, cheap ingredients, little attention to detail and lots of hype. They still produce a better product than the chains but not by much. Certainly their product cannot hold a candle to what I can produce in my TEC 800 degree grill or you with your rigged 800 degree oven.

Finally, I’m curious as to whether you had an opportunity with Slice and/or the Canadian radio station to highlight your association with pizzamaking.com and all the members who contributed to finally decoding the actual recipe and process employed by Patsy’s.




Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on October 10, 2006, 03:56:38 PM
Hey pftaylor,

First let me compliment you on your post about Chris Bianco’s place.  No post ever made me want to get on a plane and visit a pizza place more than that. Very alliterative!

You raise a lot of questions, so I’ll try to give a bit of background on my goals.

When I first started my pizza quest in 1998 the information available was very limited. There were a few books I read but I quickly realized that they were no help at all. Mostly my quest consisted of seeking out the best places and trying to guess what they did by asking a few questions or looking around at brands, etc. But mostly it was just hard headed trial and error, mostly error. There was progress and there were a few major breakthroughs for me over that time. I took a tour of a local bakery and talked for 30 minutes to the head baker and that really helped me a lot. This was how I learned how to windowpane properly and later I discovered when that was and was not important.  I found out about sourdough cultures and read Ed Wood’s book – Ed’s work was very influential, and even though I don’t use a lot of his processes or any of his cultures and even though his customer service has been, to be polite, not that great, I always credit him on my site and refer customers to him.  Just over two years ago I started online research and joined a bread-making yahoo group and they turned me on to the DLX. Also, my own experimentation was yielding a lot of progress at that time. 

Although I was seeking to reproduce Patsy’s taste, I realized early on that reproducing their methods 100% was impossible.  I don’t have a huge Hobart mixer, nor a huge brick oven. Therefore I had concluded that cloning their pie may require multiple changes. But this didn’t mean it wouldn’t be as good. As an experienced home cook, I began to notice that I could exceed all kinds of restaurants in some areas, even if I couldn’t duplicate them in others.  With Patsy’s for example, I was pretty sure that they did not do a 3 day rise. But they had the extra flavor of a brick oven, so maybe I could compensate for my lack of a brick oven by improving the fermentation techniques.  I was pretty sure they used hi gluten flour because I saw the side of bag there once, but my tests came out best with bread flour. So while I was trying to make the best pie I’d had, and my gold standard was Patsy’s, I was not necessarily locked into the idea that I could only do this by reproducing their methods 100%.

This time was a period of intense experimentation with little guidance. It was during this period that I blew out 3 food processors and one heavy duty mixer. I almost melted my neighbor’s grill and my toaster oven. I also broke my oven lock once (internal damage that needed repair) and shattered the glass twice. I had my kitchen fill with smoke multiple times. I also tested over a dozen brands of tomatoes and almost as many flours - cake, 00, AP, bread from many brands. I was having cheeses mail ordered to me in dry ice boxes at $75 a batch. On trips to NY I got samples of Patsy’s dough twice and Johnny’s dough once and started to culture them. I also experimented with punch downs, multi-stage dough building (like Ed Wood), oil, sugar, vitamin C, NY water, oven broilers, multiple starters, fresh yeast, etc. Many individual steps in the process took months to master and even longer to piece together into a coherent formula that all worked together.

Finally, after over 6 years of experimentation, I developed a formula which I and others felt was right. At this time, I started taking photos and created my website. I posted my formula – stressing the top 3 factors of Heat, Starter & Mixing Technique - up on a bread-making board. The whole formula included at that time:
-   800F temps using the cleaning cycle with foil to protect the glass
-   Higher heat from the top using foil
-   Natural sourdough culture
-   Multi-day cold rise, instead of Ed Wood’s 85F proofing box technique
-   KA Bread flour
-   No oil
-   No sugar
-   No additives, such as malt or dough conditioners
-   High salt
-   Filtered water
-   Pre-Mix hydration period
-   Wet mix (gradual flour add) using a  DLX
-   Post-Mix rest period
-   Much wetter dough than any recipe I’d seen
-   No punch down step – single rise only
-   Less than double rise
-   Garden grown Basil
-   Strained and deseeded Cento Tomatoes (Non-DOP) with romano cheese

After getting threatened with legal action on a bread board because of the cleaning cycle thing, someone on that board suggested pizzamaking.com as a place I might share ideas. I found this site and posted a link to my page with the above formula. Two months later, this thread began.

This was an interesting thread. I was happy to coach and unlike Marco, to share everything I knew with others. I was happy to provide my starter to you and a few others who like me sought to make a Patsy’s style pie.  It was a period of intense activity and in just 3 ½ weeks of starting this thread, Pete, you announced that you had made a pie that was to your satisfaction – by then there were over 11 pages here! During this time there was a lot of debate and there were a few conclusions on this thread that I could not agree with. The primary one being the use of Hi Gluten flour, which while it may be part of Patsy’s current recipe, simply did not test best for me. As I said, I had long previously concluded that I may have to vary from the Patsy’s formula in one area, to compensate for differences in another. I was not surprised, though, when Evelyne reported recently that the old timers used 12-12.5 and not 14% flour.

During this period I felt that my dough was more or less complete and this allowed me to move on to the sauce where I developed my tomato-rinsing technique, which I’m sure Patsy’s does not use, but which many now swear by. The thinking behind this technique was to compensate for the acid and tinny taste added by the canning process and return to a fresher tomato taste. I’ve also tried making my own cheese. My cheese supply problem continues to be my biggest drawback and I continue to seek out a better olive oil.

Since joining this board I have altered my formula by using Caputo 00. I now blend in about 25-50% caputo with the KA Bread and I’m still open to the idea that I may either increase or decrease that number based on future tests. I’ve also learned from Marco, that warm rise is possible provided you start with a tiny amount of yeast. However, this requires a lot of dough management and experience and as Marco says “there is no recipe” only a master’s touch. So while I now agree that this is workable, I don’t think that it has tested better than the cold rise and I certainly know that the cold rise is a whole lot easier to do for the home baker and easier to yield consistent results. The formula that I give on my site includes the original cold rise technique.

As far as Patsy’s goes. I don’t agree that Patsy’s is nothing special. There are 60,000 pizza joints in the U.S. and I’ve had most of the best and the single best pie I’ve had was out of Patsy’s oven. In my book, that makes them special, by definition. I have to give credit where credit is due. I would not have my current formula if Patsy had not done what he did as a model.  Certainly neither Lombardi’s nor Grimaldi’s nor John’s has kept the flame alive. I credit Patsy’s with doing that. And like with Ed Wood, I always give them credit, even though I may not choose to follow all of their methods. On a good day, I can beat Patsy’s. But I don’t make pies everyday and consistency is difficult.  As far as ingredients go, I do not slight Patsy’s for using cheap ingredients. As I have said from the beginning, good ingredients are important, but the primary issue is one of technique.  To me, that is my biggest contribution to this board, although I still think that I have not persuaded many. The search for the perfect ingredient or piece of equipment is, for most people, an attempt to shift responsibility from their own lacking technique onto an inanimate object. Obviously, I don’t include you and Chris Bianco in that because you are actually trying to take responsibility for the ingredients and that’s a whole different level. However, the very fact that Patsy’s produces a pie which is acknowledged by many as superlative, using ordinary ingredients, I think bolsters the main point I’ve tried to teach – it’s about technique.

So Pete, my goal is not to reproduce Patsy’s methods 100%. I may not have said it clearly here, but I think I gave up on that goal long before I came on the internet. I was certainly interested in knowing what they did, but I can’t do what they do, so knowing all of that does not dictate my formula. I can make a pie nearly identical to theirs using my formula. Technique variations compensate for ingredient or equipment variations. Technique is they key. I posted up recently, excerpts from my course on mastery. There’s another section of that that maybe I’ll post someday; Individual factors of any skill can be learned, but the ability to improvise – to overcome variations in circumstances, such as having different ingredients or equipment – is the hallmark of mastery, whether it be music, sports or any field. Marco echoes this when he says for the old masters, “there is no recipe”, by which he means that every day is an improvisation because there are too many factors to nail down. I am not a master at pizza making. I have improvised for the Patsy’s recipe, but a true master would have all the variables need to switch from one type to another at any time. That would take a lot more time to master than I have.

My repeated references to Patsy’s on my site are an attempt to give credit where credit is due, to talk about a model from which much can be learned, and to compare my result with their gold standard. I’m equally impressed with Johnny’s in Mt. Vernon, NY, but I don’t talk about them as much because I’ve chosen to focus on one style, out of lack of time to really be a jack of all trades.

Wow, this was too long. Another successful attempt to procrastinate from my day job…
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Finnegans Wake on October 10, 2006, 04:14:48 PM

After getting threatened with legal action on a bread board because of the cleaning cycle thing, someone on that board suggested pizzamaking.com as a place I might share ideas. I found this site and posted a link to my page with the above formula. Two months later, this thread began.


A very informative thread it is, too.  And I was just thinking that my inaugural attempts at pizza making would be doomed by the restraints of my oven... Hmmm... foil, eh?  The legal action reference makes me wonder what the heck happened there...  :-D  I'm imagining someone in an ER with a crotch full of exploded oven glass... 

Thanks again for all the great info.  I may just run with the slightly lower temperatures for my first few... 
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: varasano on October 10, 2006, 04:47:46 PM
In case you are interested in third degree burns:

http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pftaylor on October 11, 2006, 10:26:13 AM
varasano,
Interesting response. Thanks for sharing your vision. I would have guessed that your greatest contribution was completely different than what you mentioned. Yes you have contributed greatly to the technique perspective but that is but one splinter of the bigger picture. I was thinking bigger. Much bigger. In my opinion what separates you from the rest of crowd is your willingness to experiment and think outside of the box. In a word it is your intent.

Your strategy or approach to solving home pizzamaking constraints is what separates you not your tactics or technique. Tactically speaking, your approach is far from being technically perfect but your intent is unsurpassed. I believe that if one's intent is pure than it can overcome most flaws in execution or preparation. 

You have managed to couple a few powerful tactics which the average home pizza maker couldn't even think of. In my mind, once I understood your intent then it was easy to understand your tactics. Things like clipping off your oven's door hook was brilliant. Why, because it was such an elegant solution to getting 800 degree heat in one's home. Your intent here was to get to high heat in the home and you came up with a cheap solution which nearly anyone in the world (with enough guts) could replicate. I spent $2K to solve my problem which you solved with a $5 pair of tin snips. That's true value. That's true innovation.

That's remarkable.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: PizzaBrasil on October 11, 2006, 10:28:27 AM
Varasano wrote ”As I have said from the beginning, good ingredients are important, but the primary issue is one of technique.  To me, that is my biggest contribution to this board, although I still think that I have not persuaded many”
Well, Varasano, you have persuaded me! 
Even nowadays I am using other formula than Patsy´s, and I had never used the window pane test, the autolyse method and some of your technical is definitively (and happily) incorporated on my dough.
“As an attempt to give credit where credit is due” I must to recognize that I first learned the basics on pizza on your site, luckily enriched by had founded the Pizzamaking.com terrific site.
Please, do not stop to contribute here as long there are avid readers waiting your participation.

Luis
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: David on October 11, 2006, 11:49:54 AM
On trips to NY I got samples of Patsy’s dough twice and Johnny’s dough once and started to culture them.

I'm still intrigued by this one Jeff,and I believe it was an unanswered question that PFT raised some time ago? Do you wish to enlarge on this?I recall Marco suggesting that he was in some way pursuing this idea.
I enjoyed your post Jeff and your openness,but fully respect it when the likes of Marco, Bianco etc. play their cards close to their chests.They have "Property to protect".I for one would choose a similar tight lipped path if I were in their position.I do obviously find it frustrating on an open forum when a knowlegable contributor decides to drop you a bone purely as a tease,but I guess that is partially a marketing ploy (and it works !) that I have to respect .I firmly believe that wether or not they would admit to it,many of the countries top Bakers/Pizza makers are or have lurked on this board to garner a crumb.In this day and age of IT they would be doing themselves a great disservice if they weren't.Sadly IMO,though improving,the general state of Pizza has a long way to go.Even the much lauded well intentioned Artisan Pizzerias sprouting like crab grass often leave much to be desired,and it can't be due to lack of information,but implementation of the correct tools, procedures and FOCUS.By comparison I have found no other (English language) forum as focused on it's goals as this one.I have never had the time (nor desire,sadly) to delve into Deep Dish,Cracker or most of the other myriad of styles represented here as it would take me away from my focus where I still find so many unanswered questions.Thanks,
                                                         David
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on October 11, 2006, 12:07:46 PM
Jeff,

I was wondering whether you have ever tried making your dough without using the rest periods. The reason I ask the question is because the best doughs I have ever made from the standpoint of handling and being essentially rip-free, almost without exception, used a natural preferment. In some cases, an autolyse or similar rest period was used, but in some cases it wasn’t. In some cases I used supplemental commercial yeast (IDY) but in other cases I did not. When I used rest periods, I didn’t detect a significant difference whether I used the classic Calvel autolyse or another form of rest period. What seemed to be the constant throughout the best results was the natural preferment. To be sure, I had some lesser handling doughs when I used a natural preferment but I think in most cases it was because I was new to using natural preferments (most of my early work was at room temperature) and I perhaps allowed the doughs to overferment and become too extensible. I haven’t tried your formulation as much as pftaylor’s original “Patsy’s” dough formulation and its successor Raquel formulation, but some of the best results I achieved with the dough was using those formulations. Interestingly, at pftaylor’s suggestion, when I tried using the Raquel dough management with the basic Lehmann dough formulation, but using commercial yeast only, I did not get particularly noteworthy results.

As you know, pftaylor started out his reverse engineering exercise using a basic dough formulation posted by ilpizzaiolo (Ron). With input from many of the forum’s members, including you, that formulation was greatly enhanced, especially in the use of a natural preferment, even though the premise—that Patsy’s was using a preferment—turned out to be faulty. That aside, I know that pft’s results improved when he started using your “Patsy’s” starter, as he noted himself at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg10278.html#msg10278. To be sure, there were differences from what you were doing at the time. As recorded in this thread, which I read in its entirety over the weekend, pftaylor used a different configuration of mix/rest periods than you were using at the time, a different flour (KASL), a different mixer (a basic KitchenAid mixer), a different baking system (a high-temperature grill), and he also incorporated dough handling procedures he got from Jose at Patsy’s. He was also using a different percent of preferment than you. I believe that, at the time, you were using 40-42% preferment whereas pftaylor was using 8%. I know you guys have debated the differences in your formulations and techniques but it seems the results achieved by both of you were, and continue to be, quite similar. And at the center of the good results, even with the differences, is the natural preferment. Which brings me full circle again on whether it is the natural preferment that is the most important part of your respective dough formulations from the perspective of creating anti-rip doughs, maybe even to the exclusion of the rest periods. I would also be interested in knowing whether you ever tried pftaylor’s “Patsy’s” or Raquel formulations and methods and, if so, what results you got.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on October 11, 2006, 12:17:49 PM
Jeff,

As an added note to my last post, I do not mean to suggest that rest periods do not produce good result or that they should be omitted. I was talking primarily in the context of the factors that are most responsible for producing the rip-free dough. I have made doughs using autolyse or similar rest periods but using commercial yeast instead of natural preferments and I did not get the rip-free doughs. In that resped, they were like any other doughs I made without rest periods.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: David on October 11, 2006, 12:22:29 PM
Peter,
Sorry but i don't recall and i don't have the time to go back and read the whole thread right now,but were comparison records kept of water , Flour , OTH , Room Temps kept by anyone?I think these are all variables that may well have as dramatic effect on the quality of the final dough characteristics in conjunction with the type of leavening agent?
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on October 11, 2006, 12:31:06 PM

I enjoyed your post Jeff and your openness,but fully respect it when the likes of Marco, Bianco etc. play their cards close to their chests.They have "Property to protect".I for one would choose a similar tight lipped path if I were in their position.I do obviously find it frustrating on an open forum when a knowlegable contributor decides to drop you a bone purely as a tease,but I guess that is partially a marketing ploy (and it works !) that I have to respect .
David

David, thanks for mentioning this.

Let me clarify for all the forum something and why I adopted the approach used now:

You know that I started writing on the internet few years ago on pizza.it. Well, at the time, i was quite open on numerous subjetcs as I was to a lesser extent at the beginning on this forum for the same desire od promoting Pizza Napoletana and traditional breads. This was also the time that I started organising all my research to write a book Then I was left burnt:

A guy opened a pizzeria ans start promoting it as authentic out of knowledge acquired on that forum. The product is nowhere authentic, but he believe so as he had "studied" my posts.. tHIS FOR ME WHENT AGAINST WHAT i WAS trying to achieve as  the wrong product was sold as Pizza Napoletana and what is more he is making money out of poor customers... Another guy started a bakery out of private messages he exchanged with me. Now his making loads of money... no credits nor retribuition was ever given to me.... Then I thought this is not working...

I do not really do it for marketing, trust me as I have very little time to spare for consultancy and have to refuse most. I recently had to put someone in the queue for September 2007 (I know there are sceptics out there, but when the time will come I am sure he will let this story go public as part of his opening campaign).

That is for now.

Ciao

PS to answer also another message, the book is on hold and being revised and only a smaller version with no cover of my personal method, will be published within the next 2 years
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on October 11, 2006, 12:40:55 PM
David,

At the time, Jeff favored the King Arthur bread flour. He also used a slightly higher hydration but I believe he may have accounted for it differently in the baker's percents. pftaylor's preferment was respect to the weight of flour but if you added the flour and water components to the formula flour and water it increased the "effective" hydration level. However, I don't think that the hydration levels materially changed the overall results. pftaylor scrupulously weighed his ingredients whereas Jeff operated more by feel, and pftaylor took note of finished dough temperature. In the totality, I don't think these factors accounted for the dough quality that I described. Since then, of course, there have been other changes, although they are fewer in pftaylor's case.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: David on October 11, 2006, 12:46:56 PM
Peter,
Sorry but i don't recall and i don't have the time to go back and read the whole thread right now,but were comparison records kept of water , Flour , OTH , Room Temps kept by anyone?I think these are all variables that may well have as dramatic effect on the quality of the final dough characteristics in conjunction with the type of leavening agent?

Sorry Peter I think you missed my point to to my wording?I was referring to ONLY the temperatures of each component :
Water , Flour , OTH , Room during production
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: scott r on October 11, 2006, 12:56:45 PM
Jeff,

I was wondering whether you have ever tried making your dough without using the rest periods. The reason I ask the question is because the best doughs I have ever made from the standpoint of handling and being essentially rip-free, almost without exception, used a natural preferment. In some cases, an autolyse or similar rest period was used, but in some cases it wasn’t. In some cases I used supplemental commercial yeast (IDY) but in other cases I did not. When I used rest periods, I didn’t detect a significant difference whether I used the classic Calvel autolyse or another form of rest period. What seemed to be the constant throughout the best results was the natural preferment. To be sure, I had some lesser handling doughs when I used a natural preferment but I think in most cases it was because I was new to using natural preferments (most of my early work was at room temperature) and I perhaps allowed the doughs to overferment and become too extensible. I haven’t tried your formulation as much as pftaylor’s original “Patsy’s” dough formulation and its successor Raquel formulation, but some of the best results I achieved with the dough was using those formulations. Interestingly, at pftaylor’s suggestion, when I tried using the Raquel dough management with the basic Lehmann dough formulation, but using commercial yeast only, I did not get particularly noteworthy results.

As you know, pftaylor started out his reverse engineering exercise using a basic dough formulation posted by ilpizzaiolo (Ron). With input from many of the forum’s members, including you, that formulation was greatly enhanced, especially in the use of a natural preferment, even though the premise—that Patsy’s was using a preferment—turned out to be faulty. That aside, I know that pft’s results improved when he started using your “Patsy’s” starter, as he noted himself at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg10278.html#msg10278. To be sure, there were differences from what you were doing at the time. As recorded in this thread, which I read in its entirety over the weekend, pftaylor used a different configuration of mix/rest periods than you were using at the time, a different flour (KASL), a different mixer (a basic KitchenAid mixer), a different baking system (a high-temperature grill), and he also incorporated dough handling procedures he got from Jose at Patsy’s. He was also using a different percent of preferment than you. I believe that, at the time, you were using 40-42% preferment whereas pftaylor was using 8%. I know you guys have debated the differences in your formulations and techniques but it seems the results achieved by both of you were, and continue to be, quite similar. And at the center of the good results, even with the differences, is the natural preferment. Which brings me full circle again on whether it is the natural preferment that is the most important part of your respective dough formulations from the perspective of creating anti-rip doughs, maybe even to the exclusion of the rest periods. I would also be interested in knowing whether you ever tried pftaylor’s “Patsy’s” or Raquel formulations and methods and, if so, what results you got.

Peter


The past two months I have had more time to experiment than usual.  One of the things I wanted to accomplish was a better understanding of the effects of mixing times and autolyse.  I have come to the conclusion that the shorter mixing times are greatly aided by the autolyse.  Makes sense.  If we aren't mixing for long then we need that time for the flour to fully hydrate so that it can properly start producing the gluten strands.  With the shorter mixing times I get more large (but random) voids, and a crispier product.  That crispness comes, however, with the side effect of a potentially tougher crust.  I say potentially because I was able to get a few pies that were soft, but things just were not as consistent.  Again, this makes sense, as I think certain parts of the dough were worked more than others by my mixer.

Now when I did a nice long slow mix I reached a point where the dough sort of toughend up in the mixer.  If I took a short kneaded dough and a long kneaded dough and put them in your hand you would think the long kneaded dough had a much lower hydration.  This was very good for shaping/not sticking to the peel etc.  With these long kneaded doughs I really didn't find much difference when employing an autolyse.  In fact, I may have actually liked the non autolysed version a bit better, but either way there was no need for it in my eyes.  Not only did the long kneaded doughs handle just as well as the short knead/autolyse doughs, but the finished product was more tender and generally very consistent.

All these experiments were done with caputo flour and a long 18-22 hour room temp fermentation and a riposo at the end, so I am not sure if it will all translate to King arthur fridge rise doughs etc.  I am just starting to understand the differences between the the deformation energy (W) specs of of flours, and I am sure that will effect my mixing regimen along with other things.  I would love to see some others experiment with a really long knead in their kitchen aid.  I am talking 20-30 minutes.  The best way to do this is to add the flour just to the point of starting to clump up around the dough hook and let it go.  With our standard home mixers (DLX included)  incorporating all of the flour could give you a ball that is just stuck to the hook or bouncing around the mixer, and that wouldn't really be mixing.

Peter, I have definitely found that using wild yeast (natural preferment) is a huge factor in how the dough handles and how the consistency of the baked crust ends up.  I have always assumed that it was the acidic nature of the dough when a preferment is used that helped things out?   Whatever is going on to make it that way, I am not sure, but in every way the preferment doughs always win out in my kitchen.  I can't imagine baking without them. 

So at least for now.............. Longer kneads, wild yeast, and no autolyse for me.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on October 11, 2006, 12:59:10 PM
David,

Now I see what you are getting at. pftaylor took note of finished dough temperature and, depending on whether it was higher or lower than desired, he would suggest in his instructions that the water temperature be higher or lower the next time. To the best of my knowledge, he did not take the temperature of the different ingredients or use machine friction factors to calculate the water temperature required to achieve a desired finished dough temperature. I don't recall that Jeff did any of those things either. Since Jeff's current use of high hydration and wet doughs, I believes he feels that there is little heat buildup in the dough during mixing, kneading, etc.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: David on October 11, 2006, 01:50:56 PM
David, thanks for mentioning this.

Let me clarify for all the forum something and why I adopted the approach used now:

You know that I started writing on the internet few years ago on pizza.it. Well, at the time, i was quite open on numerous subjetcs as I was to a lesser extent at the beginning on this forum for the same desire od promoting Pizza Napoletana and traditional breads. This was also the time that I started organising all my research to write a book Then I was left burnt:

A guy opened a pizzeria ans start promoting it as authentic out of knowledge acquired on that forum.
The product is nowhere authentic, but he believe so as he had "studied" my posts.. tHIS FOR ME WHENT AGAINST WHAT i WAS trying to achieve as  the wrong product was sold as Pizza Napoletana and what is more he is making money out of poor customers... Another guy started a bakery out of private messages he exchanged with me. Now his making loads of money... no credits nor retribuition was ever given to me.... Then I thought this is not working...

I do not really do it for marketing, trust me as I have very little time to spare for consultancy and have to refuse most. I recently had to put someone in the queue for September 2007 (I know there are sceptics out there, but when the time will come I am sure he will let this story go public as part of his opening campaign).

That is for now.

Ciao

PS to answer also another message, the book is on hold and being revised and only a smaller version with no cover of my personal method, will be published within the next 2 years

Marco,
Though I understand your frustration and your Goals,from the information quoted,I think many people would have difficulty understanding how you personally feel burned because of contributions you made along with other forum members?
For example ,If someone goes out and takes a VPN approved course,uses approved ingredients and follows (By their belief?) the correct method to produce a particular style of Pizza (Neapolitan)how is it  personally your responsibility and reflective upon you if in your opinion they don't get it right? You are but one of many who contribute to such forums.How can you determine that the guy opened his Pizzeria /started a business purely on information garnered from you?I study your posts with great interest,but also have found Teo,Stefano,Raf,Scott,Peter,Jeff etc. etc. and others to be of interest and contributing to my bank of ideas and knowledge.I believe your degree of knowledge is evident and without question,but I'm sure others do not quite get it.Should I ever decide to open a Pizzeria and it not be to your standard ,are you accountable?I don't believe so,unless that is I hired you as a cosultant,chose not to follow you guidance,yet still promoted my product as authentic.The other point is that i may totally disagree with you and have a different opinion as to what is truly representative of Neapolitan Pizza?
To be honest I was a little surprised at your comments regarding the quality of the Pizza produced at this years Pizzafest.If not one Pizzeria out of over 30 Neapolitan pizzerias represented can produce a Pizza that you consider representative of a quality fit to call GOOD,then really what hope is there for anyone outside of Naples (never mind Italy !!) in their endeavor to produce such?Positioning yourself as an Authority and Consultant on Pizza Napoletana I understand your need to maintain the highest benchmark for the product you champion, but if the majority ( and i say that because if not even One of Pizzerias at the festival reached you benchmark) in Naples are not producing something you consider worthy then what chance does Pizza Napoletana really have of true representation worldwide? I can go to any number of Fish + Chip shops in England and find food that is representative of of English Fish & Chips,however only a handfull of those are really Great at any given time,and many of the others I would consider acceptable and representative.I have yet to find ONE place in the USA that manages to get it right? Close.......but not right.Is this your opinion of Pizza Napoletana Marco?In my opinion the Pizzas I tasted at the Pizza Fest were equal to and/or better than any I have had in the US.Thanks for your input,
                                                                                                                                                       David
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzanapoletana on October 11, 2006, 06:15:43 PM
David, the guy actually quotes exactly a recipe, methodology and timescale I had explained on that forum.... I was also contacted in private from old forum members that had been in that pizzeria and told me what they thought about his "marketing"... Anyway, you missed my point and the burning wasn't purely that one.

I am not talking about accountability, if that was I would have stopped writing to any degree.

Teo, Stefano and the rest do not know and did not know the Pizza Napoletana subject. Ciro and myself have prove this on that forum many times... teo was talking about spiral mixers in Naples..... You will never see those in traditional places..

About the pizzafest: One of the major sponsor was as disappointed as me because of the quality due to not managing to involve any elite pizzeria... so do not be surprised... but again it is inside info you do not seam to appreciate. In Naples there are thousands and thousands of pizzeria...  30 or less did not represent even a sample.... Also disagree with me? Not disrespect but you need to know the Napoletana to disagree with me. Again is not only me that makes those comments, I am the only one writing these in English, but in Naples there are plenty of old timers that says so. They do not even know the internet and will never even write on an Italian site. It was refreshing getting Ciro to partecipate on pizza.it....

Again you missed my point, I will reconsider my partecipation/contribution to this forum, as I have already done on other sites. 

Thanks

Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: David on October 12, 2006, 05:06:49 AM
Hi Marco,
              thanks for your comments.I truly hope that any decision you should make  regarding participation in this forum is not influenced by my comments.My intention was to encourage  more dialogue on the points I raised  and through that a more  thorough understanding.

The names I quoted were in fact not in refererence to any particular style of pizza,but more about the passion, and diversityof their input - which makes them both enjoyable and rewarding.I think you missed my point there.
For me it's not a case that we must agree or disagree - that's not important (even though I would prefer to agree !) IMO having open dialogue is, and promotes a clearer understanding of things.I had thought about the Pizza Fest a lot and am fully aware that the exhibitors were just a "drop in the Ocean" compared to the thousands of Pizzerias out there.Maybe that's why I was so surprised to hear your dissapointment?I only visited the show for one evening and tasted a couple of Pizza,so i'm no judge against what the rest of Naples has to offer,but i had expected that this was a "Showcase" for the Neapolitan style and had left assuming that it was fairly representative as a style even if not including the finest?Thankfully,due to information provided by yourself and others i was able to venture out into Naples and visit some of the more recommended places and use them as a benchmark.Thanks,
                               David
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on October 14, 2006, 09:24:10 PM
hi guys'; i glad to see your still working this thread.  AFTER 2 YEARS ;D   I'VE BEEN DOWN TO PASTY'S AT LEAST a dozen times since i last posted. one night the pizza was so bad i didn't go again for months.  and guess what jose' wan't working that night. :'(  i haven't had time to read all the posts. i'm still making pizza at home once and awhile. and working at anthony's pizza in the bronx.  one day any time he calls me. which is rare. thank santo di pizziola >:D not sure if you  guys picked up on this topic here.  but i've been using BUFFALO MILK MOZZ. AT $16 a pound,  from italy.  if you haven't tried it, and can find it. it's worth the cost. i can't believe i never heard of it before,. well it's pizza making season , at my house. and every one is pressuring me to pop out a few pies. so i may even tell a few good stories this winter and maybe even some pictures.  quido
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on October 14, 2006, 09:35:49 PM
i just read on of tha later post's  pasty's uses a world war 2 army dough mixer. for what it's worth. nothing special except that it still works. ???  quido
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: quidoPizza on October 14, 2006, 10:17:57 PM
hi guys again:  just reading a few of your posts. you guys are great. and really work hard to get a great pizza ;D and i'm sure i would enjoy having  pizza at any one of your house's. thats a hint to any one in the bronx  just a reminder to you guys. there is nothing special about pasty's, except the oven. and a good pizza man like jose' that's why he's back there. the new owners. don'[t understand how to work the oven. and no 20 year old kid can figure it out.  there is a 7 year old pizza rest. in the bronx.   called tosca's which has a 1920 coal oven.  i went there when they opened . and asked for a 4 day a week job making pizza.  i wanted top $$  and they never called me.  not that i know anything about working a coal oven.  but i figured i knew more than the kids they had working there. and plus jose is my friend. so i could ask him for pointers. long story short, i've ate pizza there about 10 times in the last 7 years. and each time was sorry . very sorry. their big signs saying coal oven pizza means nothing.  it's love for the product. that counts.  quido
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: PizzaEater on February 12, 2009, 10:17:26 PM
Cheesy,
I shrunk the skin back down to just under 16" or so. My grill will not accept a pie larger than 16". The reason why I wanted to stretch the skin so big was purely academic. I'm not sure I reached the upper limit. In fact, I wasn't close. I was too worried about being able to get it back down below 16" so my family could eat dinner. The lesson learned on being able to stretch the skin so easily was quite valuable. The dough demonstrated it's high-performance ability to stretch without tearing or even developing those nagging thin spots. Consequently, I very well may choose to reduce the ball size to 13oz or less for a 16" pizza as a result in the near future. The impact of that newfound ability affords the opportunity to reduce the amount of carbohydrates fairly significantly. Fewer carbs without sacrificing taste is a good thing in my opinion.

Here is the complete formulary:

Pizza Raquel - Everything You'd Want (TM Pending) - Based on input from ilpizzaiolo, Pete-zza, Varasano, pizzanapoletana, dinks, bakerboy, quidoPizza, Arthur, friz78 & countless others.

        Weight                         Volume                                     Description                           Bakers Percent
16   oz/  456  Grams      3       cups                                  KASL High Gluten Flour                   100%     
9.6  oz/  273  Grams      1 1/8 cups or 9 fluid oz              Water                                               60%     
.01  oz/  .285 Grams      1/8    teaspoon (baker's pinch)  Instant Dry Yeast                            .15%     
.32  oz/  9.1   Grams      2 1/4 teaspoon                          Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                   2%
.08  oz/  2.3   Grams      1       teaspoon                          Olive oil                                              .5%
1.3  oz/  37    Grams      2       tablespoon                       Varasano Preferment                          8% 

Note: If producing recipe without preferment, boost the IDY to .055 oz, 1/4 teaspoon or .35% of flour

Produces two dough balls weighing 13 - 14oz (enough for two 15" - 16" pizzas)

Preparation Didactics
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and preferment (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute with hook attachment. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Mix on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually. Scrape dough off hook if riding high. Add oil and mix on 2 for 5 minutes. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, drop dough into bowls, cover with shower caps or plastic wrap. I use no oil to coat the balls and have not noticed a problem removing balls from stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24 hours. On the following day, remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approximately 60 - 120 minutes). To ensure light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature before cooking.

Stretching Didactics - Special thanks to DC PM & Jose of Patsy's Pizza
Step 1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Dust well
Step 3 - Flatten pancake further by pressing 8 fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Keep dusted with flour
Step 4 - Place hands palm down inside rim (as if patting with open hand) and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress with favorite toppings
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking (Patsy's uses baker's string)
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into preheated oven (1 hr+) outfitted with a stone or tiles
Step 9 - Bake until lightly charred and golden brown at highest temperature possible

Varasano Preferment? Can someone point it out to me?

Thanks
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Pete-zza on February 12, 2009, 10:25:17 PM
Varasano Preferment? Can someone point it out to me?


Dave,

It is a culture that Jeff Varasano developed from a dough that he obtained from one of the Patsy's pizzerias. It is discussed here: http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 09, 2010, 11:40:46 AM

Are there any forum members that would be willing to share this culture? 
Dave,

It is a culture that Jeff Varasano developed from a dough that he obtained from one of the Patsy's pizzerias. It is discussed here: http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm.

Peter
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: veloboy on November 12, 2010, 12:10:43 AM
Holy Crap, I just read this whole thread. Got interested, not because I want a Patsy's Pizza (never been, so what do I know) but I liked seeing the process. I'm in my own experiment phase with a NY style dough and I want to see why things happen, not just follow somebodies recipe blindly. I spent 3 hrs prepping multiple balls, all with different ingredient changes just to see what happens. Beteen that, and me reading this whole thread, I clearly having crossed over in to "pizza dork" status.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: pizzablogger on November 12, 2010, 07:29:44 PM
lol Veloboy  :)

That is a fantastic thread. It's one of several here that when you are done giving it an attentive read and put some of it into practice, your learning curve and knowledge base is accelerated tremendously.

I love the experimentation with all the different dough balls you did. Let us know of your findings, good luck and have fun!  :pizza:

--K
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: veloboy on November 12, 2010, 08:53:29 PM
Yeah, we'll see. Did 4 10" balls that I'll be using tomorrow night. Each one had one variable changed. I'm really curious to see what I think. Funny though, 4 pies and just my wife and I to eat them. I'd invite friends over, but one of the reasons I'm doing this is that we are doing a BIG pizza party next Friday where I'll be making probably 8-10 15" pies. Don't want them to get burnt out. Anyhow, I'll probably post up the results, as I need somebody's opinion who actually cares about pizza making. haha Wife loves my pizza, but she isn't the greatest for specific feed back.  :chef:
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: CIZ28 on May 07, 2012, 07:26:58 PM
I've read through alot of this post and have to say that after a visit to this establishment a few days ago, I was mostly disappointed. It was pretty empty. Even though it was late on Saturday night, a place like Totonno's, Grimaldi's, or DeLorenzo's would probably be slammed. The service is definitely not that good, the food in the dining room is just OK, (the fried calamari was very good and the cheesecake was decent) everything else kind of blah. The pizza was also apparently off. Now, I've had authentic Neapolitan style pizza before, among many others. The guys making the pizza (that barely spoke English) gave me a Margherita that was barely browned/charred and almost white on the bottom. This was the softest, least crispy, most soggy, somewhat undercooked, and most difficult to eat crust that I've ever experienced. It was also too thin and weak. Handling it was just horrible and messy. The edge/rim was slightly tough and it almost tasted like a wafer instead of pizza dough. The crust on that pizza and on the plain slice I also ordered (which they didn't reheat and just gave me warm) underwhelmed everyone and just took away from it. I guess I should specify well-done if I go again, even though at a coal oven place that should be the standard. I hope it's alot better well-done, because if not, it makes me think as to why people would go through such great lengths to re-engineer that kind of bland dough. I read online reviews afterwards complaining about many of the same things. I was most angry about the place not doing it's legacy justice.

I will admit though, there were bright spots. The chunky sauce and cheese were extremely good, very tasty. If I wanted to re-engineer anything off of those pies, that would be it. Probably one of the best tasting plain slices I've ever had save for the soggy paper crust. I'd rather have the original NYC method of cheese on bottom and sauce on top than the "corner slice orange blanket" though. I also don't think I saw the use of any parmesan or oregano on the plain pies which was odd and I didn't see if they used any oil on the Margherita. Not sure though. I should probably try Totonno's next. I hear their pizza a little thicker, more crispy, and at least cooked right.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: TXCraig1 on May 07, 2012, 11:01:24 PM
I should probably try Totonno's next. I hear their pizza a little thicker, more crispy, and at least cooked right.

Don't hold your breath. I was there a couple months ago, and it wasn't very good. As one of the guys I was with put it, "It's hotter in the restaurant than the oven."
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: CIZ28 on May 09, 2012, 11:49:35 PM
Really? What was your experience there? I've wanted to try them for a while.
Title: Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
Post by: QwertyJuan on August 29, 2016, 10:30:43 PM
Just read this entire thread... took me about 3 hours. Wow. What a blast from the past. Now Jeff has his own pizza place. I feel more educated than I did before! :D