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Offline AJ72

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Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« on: January 18, 2014, 10:31:04 PM »
So on my trip back home from Detroit to PA last Sunday I landed at LaGuardia Airport in NY.  My plan was to drive through Greenwich Village Manhattan and visit all 3 pizzerias (Bleecker Street Pizza, John's of Bleecker St, and Joe's of Carmine St) for a comparison since they were all within 3 blocks of each other.   I am seeking to create the most traditional NY street pie at home and I figured these were the places to visit for ideas.  My pie is almost there but I need to perfect my sauce yet. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to sample John's because they don't sell by the slice.  I did However have the other two.  Bleecker Street Pizza which has been voted best in Manhattan by some did not taste traditional to me.  Their crust was very crumb like and cracked on the bottom like a spider web.  It appeared to have bread crumbs on it.  It was airy and very cracker like which was very unique and their sauce had a bite to it.  I loved the pizza but not traditional enough for me.  Then I went to Joe's of Carmine and it was perfect!  Very traditional and a true classic.  All I tasted was "tomatoes".  The tomato taste hit me through the nose.  It was the best sauce I have ever tasted.  As I lifted the cheese to look at the sauce I noticed there were no speckles of any kind in there.  I started to wonder if there was any spices whatsoever in there other than salt.  I immediately knew right there that "less" is indeed better when it comes to NY pizza sauce.  So I decided to make pizza tomorrow and the dough balls have been in the fridge since Wednesday.  I purchased a #10 can of Alta Cucina tomatoes for tomorrow.  I do also have 6 in 1 tomatoes which I wanted to switch up thinking it wasn't the right tomato but now I know that my recipe is the problem not the tomatoes.  I was simply putting way too much stuff in there.  So after all this writing I basically only have one question.....  If you had a #10 can of Alta Cucina tomatoes what would you put in there including amounts for a traditional NY sauce with the key word being "traditional"?  I'm also getting mixed information about whether traditional NY sauce gets oil or not.  Looking forward to the comments.  Thanks in advance...

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 11:39:40 PM »
there's already an active thread on the same subject   http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,28490.0.html
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Offline jsaras

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 10:18:33 AM »
28 oz can crushed or peeled ground tomatoes   
tsp fresh ground black pepper
tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 TB of olive oil
1 clove garlic (or a Dorot frozen garlic cube, gently defrosted in the microwave for 10 seconds at low power).

Shake it all up in a jar and refrigerate overnight.  Apply it on the pizza when the sauce is at room temp.
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Offline mkevenson

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 10:30:27 AM »
I am unfamiliar with those tomatoes but, with the Cento certified, I add nothing.

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 11:18:33 AM »
Growing up in the NYC area (50's-70's) many pizzerias added nothing to their sauce. I bet if you could interview people eating pizza before and after this era you would get a different definition.  The USA is about money and places change with the times for the most part. Today there is a movement to step back to the past.  This is a new thing for our country.   Anyway, back to the sauce question.   Then again I knew many shops that added dried oregano/salt to the sauce bucket or to the sauce after it is spread on the pie and many added sugar to the bucket.  Some go with a smooth sauce that is watered down from a concentrate, some go with ground with skins on and no water added which makes a lumpier sauce.  Most used straight mozzarella only and used sparingly.  One can argue what is a real NY pie for days because there is often a bit difference between shops.  Dough is another thing one could argue.   Some like it darkened while others will call a true NY pie light and puffy.  For me, a true NY pie will have a smooth sauce with salt added before the cheese is put on, then it is topped with only mozz cheese.  It is a very simple pie with a evenly cooked crust that is not burned at all and is chewy.  It will crisp on the outside when cut and if eaten right away.  Once you get it home it has softened up. The bake times are 6-10 minutes.  This is the real NY pie I grew up with. There were no WFO's or deck ovens that would evenly cook top/bottom if you raised the temp much over 550. Coal ovens had gone out of vouge in all but a very few shops.   The dough was made the day of and hand tossed.  I incorporate many of these things in my pizza but deviate as I need to meet my tastes.  When I go home to visit nowadays I just can't walk in anyplace and get what is to me a great pie.  IMO the quality of the NYC area deck oven pizza has gone to crap and unless you know where you are going it will be nothing to write home about.  After it is all said and done, if you found your dream sauce believe and go for it. Your taste buds don't lie!  Walter 
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 12:16:33 PM by waltertore »
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Offline AJ72

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 12:12:12 PM »
Walter did you mean "straight tomatoes only" rather than "straight mozzarella only"?  Thanks.

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 12:22:50 PM »
Walter did you mean "straight tomatoes only" rather than "straight mozzarella only"?  Thanks.

AJ:  Straight out of the can with no added ingredients.  I also remember a few shops that added very small amounts of fresh crushed garlic to the sauce.  For cheese only mozz was used.  I edited my post.  I hope that makes sense. Walter
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 12:32:27 PM by waltertore »
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Offline AJ72

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 12:33:31 PM »
Thanks Walter everything makes perfect sense.  I'm having a hard time imagining not even salt or sugar lol.  Thanks for the replies.

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 12:48:24 PM »
Thanks Walter everything makes perfect sense.  I'm having a hard time imagining not even salt or sugar lol.  Thanks for the replies.

AJ: I don't put any salt or sugar in the sauce but I do grate a tad of DOP Romano Pecorino which is very salty :) .  Walter
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Offline AJ72

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 12:54:51 PM »
I will try this today :)

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 01:17:48 PM »
I will try this today :)

AJ: Experimentation is a good thing.  Once you find your masterpiece it will be a lifetime of very small tweaks that most everyone else will never taste.  IMO we all should make the pie that blows us away, could eat everyday, never tire of it, and would eat to the point of overeating if our adult inside doesn't intervene..............  I eat 2 slices of our pies a day for lunch and have to stop myself from eating more.  Everyday I look at that 3rd slice and have a short debate with myself :)  Some people ask if I will make certain modifications for them.  I tell them no way in a polite way and share what I just did with you.  For me you come because you dig our pies.  I am not out to please anyone but myself and hopefully others will feel the same way.  I have found out over the years most people like what I make and there are more than enough of them to keep us afloat.  I was around some world reknowned chefs in my day and they all had this attitude.  I was always impressed with their conviction but others often said they had a swelled head.  When one is driven to do something this kind of attitude is a must.  Michael Jordon was confused when he missed a shot not when he made one. He assumed everything he shot would go in.  Walter
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 01:35:05 PM by waltertore »
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Offline AJ72

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 01:48:31 PM »
Thanks Walter!  I have been on a quest for the pizza I had growing up.  Unfortunately most pizzerias these days don't make a quality pie.  All pizzerias in my area taste the same and most use the Bonta/water/6 in 1 base and most cut cheap mozzarella with some type of cheddar.  I wish pizzerias were like the days of old where it was all about quality and reputation instead of cost cutting and yield.  I'm sure most people will pay more for quality but these guys don't get it.  It seems like there are few like you who actually care about the quality of the product.  Since I'm making this for home use to enjoy I can splurge on the finest ingredients.  I only use either 6 in 1 straight without cutting or Alta Cucina whole peeled tomatoes which I will try today, All Trumps flour, and Grande cheese.  My pie is much better than any pizza I have purchased in the last 15 years.  However, that trip to Joe's made me want to reinvent my sauce.  Now I can't wait for tonight lol.  Thanks for your help!

Offline TomN

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 02:14:59 PM »
I am unfamiliar with those tomatoes but, with the Cento certified, I add nothing.

Mark

Alta Cucina Tomatoes are CA grown and produced by Stanislaus Foods. IMO, they are always consistent and great tasting. They usually can be purchased for around $4 or less for a Number 10 size can. (Depending where you shop for them)

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 02:16:57 PM »
AJ:  You are welcome and thank you too.  It inspires me to chat with people with passion.  It gets me to thinking out my recipes.   So you live in PA but grew up in the NYC area?  I haven't had much pizza in PA but what little I have had has been Philly and surrounding NJ shops along route 70 to Toms River where my parents retired to.  I found all of them to be bad to worse. I remember the first time I visited them I flew into Philly instead of Newark, rented a car and proceeded to stop at every pizzeria I saw between there and their house.  I was living in CA and so excited to bite into a great pie. I was tired but had to stick a good pie into my belly.  I didn't find a 1 that looked good enough to eat.  I soon realized growing up only a few miles outside NYC the pizza went downhill quick even in NJ the further you got from the big apple.  Even today when I go back to visit them the pizza overall stinks down that way of NJ.   There are now great pizzerias all over NJ from what I hear but that first trip back to their new home in Toms River 20 years ago was shocking pizza wise. 

 Most shops today are looking to make maximum profits, employ others to do the work and basically wash their hands of the constant day to day stuff that keeps quality control in place.  I would suggest you also experiment with your flour.  I use GM FS.  AT is more akin to todays pizzas than those of yesteryear.  Scott pushes FS and he got me to try it.  We are now using it exclusively instead of AT.  I find for cold fermentations  it produces a crust more akin to my memories than AT does.  He is one to listen to as well.  His ideas are based in the old school ideas.  I would also give 7/11 tomatoes a shot.    That is what I use.  I find the tartness/sweetness of them right out of the can hard to beat.  I don't mean to scramble your formulas but these ingredients are worth trying.   I look forward to hearing how your pies come out and if you are ever in the Columbus OH area stop by our place for a visit and some pizza on me.  Walter
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Offline AJ72

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 03:41:31 PM »
But didn't the pizzerias of yesteryear use Italian style tomatoes instead of ground round tomatoes?  To the best of my knowledge both 6 in 1 and 7/11 are made from round style tomatoes not plum tomatoes.  My reasoning behind wanting to try Alta Cucina is for the plum Italian style tomatoes since I'm assuming that is what the old school pizzerias used.  And if I do stop by Columbus I will definitely take you up on it  :)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 04:01:55 PM by AJ72 »

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Offline Chaze215

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2014, 04:54:29 PM »
Walt: On your next trip to Toms River, I will hook you up with some pies from my WFO. :-)
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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2014, 11:50:25 AM »
Walt: On your next trip to Toms River, I will hook you up with some pies from my WFO. :-)

Chaz:  thanks for the invite!  My father died this year and my mother sold their Toms River house and is moving next week to the house next door to my sister just over the NJ border in PA.   So my south Jersey days are probably done.   I love the shore and next time we rent a place during the summer I will let you know. 


AJ:  I prefer the 7/11's over the plum tomatoes.  I can't say for sure what tomatoes were used in my youth but you are probably right.   Walter
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 11:52:24 AM by waltertore »
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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 12:38:48 PM »
If you had a #10 can of Alta Cucina tomatoes what would you put in there including amounts for a traditional NY sauce with the key word being "traditional"?  I'm also getting mixed information about whether traditional NY sauce gets oil or not.  Looking forward to the comments.  Thanks in advance...

First I'd buy 7/11 or Tomato Magic instead of Alta Cucina. (They're all the same tomatoes, except you don't have to process or drain 7/11 or Tomato Magic.)

But if I was using Alta Cucina, I wouldn't quite liquify it; I'd leave it a little chunky (or pulpy). I'd try it first without adding anything to the tomatoes. Then, if that's not perfect, I'd mess around with a very small amount of the following spices/additives: basil, salt, oregano, garlic, parmesan, and/or sugar.

I pretty much never use salt or sugar, and I think I prefer holding out oregano (and instead shaking a little oregano on the slice)

You've figured out the most important part already: Start with good tomatoes, and that may be all you need.

I don't know if what I had to say represents old school NY style because I'm from Ohio.
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Offline Chaze215

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 12:23:12 PM »
Chaz:  thanks for the invite!  My father died this year and my mother sold their Toms River house and is moving next week to the house next door to my sister just over the NJ border in PA.   So my south Jersey days are probably done.   I love the shore and next time we rent a place during the summer I will let you know. 
Sorry to hear about your dad, Walt. If you are ever around the Ocean county area, it would be great to have you try my pizza. I'm always looking for feedback on what I can do to make it better. I would also recommend trying DeNino's in Brick as well. Best pizza in this area....besides mine of course ;-)
Chaz

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Re: Traditional old school NY pizza sauce?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 12:46:29 PM »
Sorry to hear about your dad, Walt. If you are ever around the Ocean county area, it would be great to have you try my pizza. I'm always looking for feedback on what I can do to make it better. I would also recommend trying DeNino's in Brick as well. Best pizza in this area....besides mine of course ;-)

Chaz:  Thanks. Losing a parent is heavy I have found out.   My grandfather bought 2 lots and put 2 bungalos on them at Ortley Beach back in 1947.  Total cost- 2 grand for both!  He lived in 1 and rented the other.  I got to spend every summer of my youth at his house.  It was a dream- surfing, body surfingcrabbing, fishing, Seaside boardwalk everynight, poaching in the del monte clam beds..........     So for 58 years I have had a NJ shore link.  Now with my mother leaving it is gone.  I have an aunt and couple cousins still in Ocean County but it is not the same.  I would love to try your pies.  Don't be suprised if I call you on it someday!  Walter
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