Author Topic: Sauce ingredient possibilities??  (Read 12925 times)

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Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2005, 10:38:17 AM »
Thank you all for your help.  I guess it comes down to experimenting.  Jeancarlo is saying cook the heck out of them, and others are saying cook 'em just once, on the pie.  I need to keep experimenting....

Does anyone know what chemically happens by cooking tomatoes twice?  What is lost?  Why would you ever make any sauce, pasta etc., with a long slow simmer if it is so bad for the outcome??


Offline scott r

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2005, 11:19:51 AM »
I totally agree that it sounds to me like you are looking for a cooked sauce.  It is not what I prefer, but for years it is what I had to do to get my sauce thick enough. Now I have found Escalon.  I don't know what you loose when you cook sauce, other than the fresh flavor, and maybe some vitamins.  Cooking sauce is not bad for the outcome, just a different flavor.  I always found that a slow cook to thicken the sauce tasted better to me than adding some tomato paste.  Weird, I know, because tomato paste is just exactly that.  A cooked down tomato.  The more the tomatoes cook the less fresh they taste.  At the same time there is a flavor that intensifies that is hard to describe.  I think this might be what you are looking for.  There is nothing wrong with this flavor, and many good pizzarias I have been to do cook their sauce.  Di Faras is a pizzaria many around here look up to, and to me they had some of this flavor.  I think all of us here are working towards a goal of of our ideal pizza.  For many of us this ideal has been shaped in our mind from an early age.  I know many people who have a favorite pizzaria that to me is just not that great, but it is what they were raised on and they love it.  Experiment here with everything you can.  My wife was raised where everyone uses white cheddar on her pizza.  Now I have converted her to loving my ideal as much as hers.   
Back when I cooked my sauce I found the Hunts products to be the best.  I would do a mix of crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, whole tomatoes, and the sauce.  Watch out because the Hunts sauce is very salty.  It was key to getting the right flavor, though.  No need to strain the tomatoes if you are cooking them down.  Also, if you are going to add sugar, which seems to be in most good cooked sauces, do it at the end or it will make the sauce burn.  Actually, add all of the seasonings at the end, with maybe 10 minutes left of cooking.  To me oregano, basil etc don't taste as good when they have cooked for a long time.  Also, many times if I seasoned early, the flavors would get too strong by the time it cooked down and got thick.  I would realize that I had added too much salt or some other flavor.   Cook low and slow, and make sure you are around to stir a lot towards the end of cooking.  If it burns it tastes really bad.  Good Luck!!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2005, 11:25:04 AM »
There are differences of opinion on whether one should use a "fresh" style sauce or a cooked sauce for pizzas, which is why it is important to go with what you like best. I know that people like Big Dave Ostrander and Tom Lehmann prefer the fresh style. The following is an excerpt (in quotes, with spelling corrected) of an answer given by Big Dave to a questioner who asked him to identify the best tomatoes:

"Escalon Premier Brands & Stanislaus Food Products are the best packers of tomatoes in the world.

The two plants are only 13 miles apart on McHenry Avenue. They are in the bullseye of the finest growers in California. The climate, sun and soil unique to the San Joachim Valley is unparalled in producing the best fruit anywhere.

What really sets both companies head and sholders above all of the competition is they only produce 'fresh pack' - not from re-manufactured (paste) products. Fresh pack defined is: The fruit is picked at the height of ripeness and trucked to a California Dept. of Agriculture grading station. Here the state inspectors draw out a random core sample of the load in the trailer and assign a numeric score. The graders are looking for ripe - pink- green ratios. Mold, Color, MOT (material other than tomato) PH level and other factors. The higher the score the more money the farmer gets per ton. Only the best, highest scores get to either plants. If the load has anything below a certain score the load is diverted to another packer.

Next the tomatoes are floated off the trailers (Mater' Freighters) and washed before entering the plant. These tomatoes are harvested and arrive at the plants 27-7. They spend almost no time in the parking lots. The field coordinators are like air traffic controllers. They travel from farm to farm and determine the exact time to harvest so the flow through the plant is uninterrupted and the full trailers don't sit in the parking lots rotting.

The tomatoes are then hand sorted on a huge conveyor by 10-30 quality line workers. They cull out all of the undesirable fruit and let only the best pass through to the peeling, crushing, grinding, slicing and evaporation lines.

The next step is huge. If the cooked tomatoes go directly into the can they are called 'Fresh Pack'. They are only cooked once. If they go to the evaporators and are cooked to an industrial paste (very thick)--need to cut it with a knife or saw. Then packed in Drums or 500 gallon Mylar, Scholle Bags. Tomatoes don't like excessive heat. Since they are a fruit rather than a vegetable they naturally contain high levels of fructose sugar. These natural sugars caramelize and turn the product orange or brown rather than the vibrant red we associate with great tomatoes. Once you scorch a tomato you can't undo the damage. It forever loses its fresh, just from the vine, taste and color. This product is called 'Industrial Tomato Paste'. The Paste is then stored until an order comes in for whatever: sauce, puree, BBQ sauce, juice etc. The paste is then dilluted with water to the desired thickness, measured with a refractometer, spiced or not, blended together in a mixer and heated once again to sterilize and hit with preservatives and filled into cans or pouches and labeled. The 2 step process is called re-manufactured. This is less expensive than fresh pack because the paste can be shipped by rail to a packing plant and rehydrated--let's say in Ohio or Georgia. It cost a lot less to ship paste than it does water. The re-manners can operate plants all year long. Fresh Packers (Escalon & Stanislaus) only pack for about 100-120 days a year. They then shut down the plant and pickle it till next year. Once the rains come in late Sept or early October the fruit in the field gets unusable and pack season is over. That's why it's a 24-7 operation.

Both companies pack two levels of tomatoes based on specifications. Stanislaus' best line is branded 'Saparito' and Escalon's is 'Bonta'. These are the best of the best and have the highest NTSS (Natural Tomato Soluable Solids) percentages. The next line would be called 'Full Red' for Stanislaus and 'Emma Bella' or 'Cristiforo Columbo' in the Escalon label. These lines are exactly the same but are built to slightly lower specs. But still, very good products.

During the manufacturing process, Stanislaus chooses to add Citric Acid to the hot tomatoes as they are being filled in the can. The Citric Acid acts as a preservative by balancing the PH level so bacteria can't reproduce, eliminating spoilage and 'can bulge'. Escalon heats their product to an exact temperature and holds it there, much like pasteurizing milk, thus killing all of the bacteria, and then fills and seals the cans (under vacuum) without using Citric. This subtle difference is the big sticking point. Some operators claim that the citric gives the tomatoes a tangy/tinny taste to the back of the tongue and salivary glands. Some don't see any difference."


Offline dinks

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2005, 11:45:21 AM »
  Good Morning. I find these tomato sauce postings very interesting, because I also use many of these ingredients as well. Here I thought they were  my secrets only (LOL).
  In posting #19, VARSANOS idea is very good, I place my grated cheese in the last 10 minutes or so,Why??? because after it melts & blends in It will reduce thru the process of evaporation.
RKOS, posting #18,Is an xlnt idea, I do that as well I use just a little more than that amount but you will have to experiment with your taste buds to see "HOW MUCH". I believe it was yesterday there was a posting by one of our members who said to include  some cinnamon powder into the sauce..... YES!!! by all means That is one of the secret ingredients our Italian mothers & grandmothers specify. I will add that & if you run out of cinnamon You can use nutmeg. Again you need to experiment with the use thereof, beware it is very powerful. The last item, I use & I did not see in your list is "BAY LEAVES". Most important I use 2 medium in a 28, oz can. Small amount of sugar only.One last item, as you know, when using dry herbs ALWAYS mix in during the last 5 / 10 minutes because if cooked too long they become bitter. You can chop-up some onions in to your mix as well. If you like to use onions on as a topping consider using carmelized onions. Very easy to make.
   Good luc in your pizza baking & have a nice day my friend.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2005, 12:09:42 AM »
A nice addition to a pizza sauce is sun dried tomatoes. It is best to blend them in with the basic tomato sauce, using a food processor or similar appliance. I once tried the Classico brand sun dried tomato sauce in a pinch, and thought it was quite good--very intense flavor.

Someone mentioned fire roasted tomatoes. You can also dry them in an oven at low temperature. The Romas are good for this, but the little cherry tomatoes are also very good because they are sweet to begin with, especialy some of the newer (grape) varieties showing up at the supermarkets. I just cut them in halves, lightly salt and oil them (and maybe add some fresh garlic and herbs), and bake at around 200 degrees F until they shrivel up.

For intense flavor, I have also used balsamic vinegar (but only a little) and red Zinfandel wine in cooked sauces.



Offline Redhawk

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2005, 12:55:17 PM »
I'm new around here, but have been reading up on other good "ideas".  I've been attempting to make a good pizza for a few years now and have found a sauce I really like (my crust still has a ways to go).

My sauce is really quite simple.  I just use canned whole tomatoes, remove the seeds, a can of tomato paste, salt, thyme (or oregeno if desired), white wine (Chardonnay usually), and a hint of balsamic vinegar (which intensifies the tomato flavor).  Mix it in a blender, package and put it in the fridge overnight. 

If I want a stronger sauce for pepperoni pizza, I use Tony Chachere's instead of salt.

I have to try better tomatos now, normally I just use the major store brands, but from what I have been reading so far, it seems there are far better ones to be had. 

Offline davtrent

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Re:Spice advice
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2005, 01:29:49 PM »
If you're looking for a very good recipe to use as a base that you can later modify to fit your taste preference, I'd recommend  Escalon's Neapolitan Blend Pizza Sauce recipe
(http://www.escalon.net/recipes.asp),  or a very similar recipe from  Encyclopizza(http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/08_Sauce/02_sauce_recipe.htm)  whose Neapolitan  Pizza Sauce recipe is said to have the "flavor many people associate with basic thin-crust, round pizza".

Note that these two recipes both contain ground fennel seed, which I find adds a very important, yet subtle taste note.  

You can save yourself a bundle buy buying your spices (that you choose not to grow yourself ) from the bulk section of your local health food market or co-op--- in my area, Whole Foods.  You can buy the amount you need at a fraction of the price of the bottled McCormick brand spices.  An ounce of ground fennel seed from Whole Foods bulk cost me sixty cents.  An ounce of McCormick brand fennel sells for $3.59--- nearly six times as much!

A few other Spice Price comparisons of bulk vs. bottled:

An ounce of bulk Mediterranian Oregano is sixty-two cents vs.  $3.99 bottled.
An ounce of bulk Marjarom is fourty-four cents vs. $4.55 bottled.
An ounce of bulk granulated garlic is fifty cents vs. $3.15 bottled.
An ounce of bulk Basil is $1.50 vs. $4.29 bottled.

Dried spices degrade more rapidly than most people would guess.  I buy in amounts that won't be sitting on my shelf for a year or more.


EDIT (2/1/2013): For an alternative Correll link, see http://web.archive.org/web/20040606225828/http://correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/08_Sauce/08_sauce.htm

« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 01:31:31 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline lilbuddypizza

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2005, 11:03:44 PM »
I found that after years of "standard" sauces, the following add a little zip:
Cheese(romano,parmesan, etc.--the finely grated "can" variety)
Cardomam(very little)
Anise(very little)
Instant coffee(again, VERY little)
Beef fat (from stock skimming)
Powdered Bay Leaf (Penzey's Spices has a great catalog)
Onion flakes( I toast them in the oven and then grind them in my spice(coffee) grinder.)

Of course, I do not use all of these at the same time, but 1 or 2 offer a little variety.
I also prefer dried spices, but if you can grow and dry, great. Keep the leaves whole until using. Or buy quality dried spices and do not keep for more than a year. In my opinion, fresh spices have no place on pizza. Save it for marinara/spaghetti sauce.

Offline Madmax

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2005, 09:09:14 AM »
If you're making a large batch of sauce, instead of a sweetner like sugar, try using Peach puree.  Don't over do it.  Just a wee bit to sweeten and thicken your tomato sauce.  I know it sounds weird, but here in South Carolina we use peaches in a lot of dishes as a substitute for sweetners.  You absolutely must make sure the peaches are at the peak of ripeness.  I'm not sure where you're located, but if you can buy peaches at the end of the summer that are grown in South Carolina or Georgia, they will be the sweetest and juiciest you'll find.

Peach, cilantro, and jalapeno salsa is great too!


Offline 007bond-jb

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2005, 12:34:08 PM »
My 1st reply add red wine, Italian wine.. go to www.pizzatherapy.com/basic.htm  Its a pretty good sauce I add a little sugar too.


Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2005, 08:40:36 AM »
I'm new and just getting to some of these topics, so I revive this one a little.

Try a little liquid smoke.
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Offline pierce652

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2007, 11:20:38 PM »
Re baking soda--try just a pinch at a time, and taste as you go along. As I recall, it makes a mini-explosion as it hits the acid! Very cool to do anyway!

I use this trick when making pasta sauce...cuts down on the simmer time by hours.  But is definately cheating.
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Offline pizzaman73

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2007, 03:36:42 PM »
I have tried both complex sauces and very simply sauces. My experience has been the simpler the sauce, the better tasting pizza you get. I learned last weekend that if you use a little bit of olive oil in the sauce it seems to fry though the other ingrediants to the top creating an incredible flavor in the process. Previously, I had added olive oil to the top prior to baking and it was good, but did not yeild this same effect I learned last weekend.

Next weekend, I am going to try again, but I think I am going to order to better quality tomatoes and use just tomatoes, fresh garlic, premium olive oil, oregeno and maybe a little cayenne pepper to see what happens.


Offline November

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2008, 02:10:32 PM »
I'm a big fan of dried seasonings because of their convenience, shelf life, and flavor concentration (adjustable with hydration); so I was very excited to see that McCormick now sells Diced Jalapeņo Pepper in a bottled, dried form.  In addition to a sauce ingredient possibility, I think it works really well as a "garnish" topping just as crushed red pepper traditionally does.

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