With all the zigging and zagging that has occurred in this thread, I thought that it might be useful to pull together in one place what I believe we know about the Buddy’s style pizza based on information available at the Buddy’s website and from the posts of many of our members. In attempting this summary, I am aware that some of the information may no longer apply or may have been modified, as often happens in a non-static business environment. For example, at one time there was a link at the Buddy’s website to some very useful information on the Buddy’s pizzas, at http://www.buddyspizza.com/secret.htm
. However, that link no longer appears at the Buddy’s website—or at least I have not been able to find it (and it is not archived in the Wayback Machine). It is hard to know what the disappearance of the above link from its once highly prominent position means (unless they are cheapening their product) but since it is hard to imagine that Buddy’s has dramatically changed the character of its pizzas, I will assume for now that the information at the abovereferenced link is still valid. (For an update on this link, see EDIT 10 below.)
Members should feel free to add to the summary presented below or to correct or amplify on any point raised. Here is my summary:
1. Buddy’s uses a “premium grade” flour for its pizza dough, and, based on a recent exchange with Buddy’s, it is bromated (which is common for a Sicilian style dough). The only other dough ingredients are water, yeast and salt. There is no sugar in the dough and there is no oil in the dough per se
, although, as noted below, there is oil that is used in shaping the dough and in the pans used to bake the pizzas.
2. According to Buddy’s, the dough is made daily, at each store location, and the dough is double kneaded and allowed to rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, presumably in pans. Some time ago, after I inquired, I was told that double kneading mentioned above entails removing the dough from the mixer, patting it out (presumably after balling), stretching it, and then panning it (see Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3805.msg31842.html#msg31842
). According to Wes Pikula of Buddy's, the dough is "stretched numerous times" (look for the pertinent text at the end of the page at http://pmq.com/digital/20110607/files/data/search.xml
). One member has reported (at Reply 95 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg73765.html#msg73765
) that the dough making starts in the morning, for example, from about 8 AM to about 11 AM. That dough is then used during the course of the day to fill orders, with the dough made earliest in the morning (e.g., 8-9 AM) being used for the lunch business. Another member, at Reply 112 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg79248#msg79248
, has reported that the dough in the pans is allowed to rise and is then punched down again. It was also reported, at Reply 97 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg73843#msg73843
, that the dough is quite hard to press out. It has also been reported (at Reply 95 referenced above) that the water used to make the dough is ice cold and that the flour is also cold. That could account for some of the difficulty in pressing out the dough (a warm dough is much easier to work with). However, it is not clear whether the cold ingredients are used all of the time (to slow down the fermentation process so that the dough holds out longer) or only in the summer to achieve a relatively constant finished dough temperature when the stores are hotter than usual. Presumably, the pans of dough can be held in coolers to keep the dough from overfermenting/overproofing and removed and allowed to temper as needed to fill orders. If this is the method actually employed, it would not be unusual for different doughs to have different amounts of fermentation. I should hasten to add that I have seen no evidence that the dough is held in coolers. (See EDIT 9 below for an update.)
3. There are two basic pizza sizes for the Buddy’s pizzas, a “four square” and an “eight square”. In an exchange with Buddy’s, I was told that the pan size for the four-square is 8” x 10”, and 10” x 14” for the eight-square. The pans themselves are tapered and are made of steel. They are seasoned and are black in appearance (see http://web.archive.org/web/20160211164414/http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/ArtAndPhoto-Fronts/COVER/080228/080228-pizza-vmed-3p.standard.jpg
). The pans are oiled before the dough is placed into the pans. Some workers also apparently use oil on their fingers while pressing out the dough into the pans (Reply 99, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg73884.html#msg73884
). I believe the oil is vegetable oil (such as soybean or canola oil or possibly a blend).
4. The Buddy’s cheese for its square pizzas is a brick cheese made especially for Buddy’s by Kraft, in Wisconsin. [Note: See EDIT 2 below.] It is said to be shredded by hand although from a photo of the cheese that I have seen, at http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/08Mf788bNv6xv/340x.jpg
, the cheese looks more diced than shredded, or else the shred is a short shred. According to Buddy’s, almost one pound of the cheese (15 ounces) is used to make the eight-square pizza. If the amount of cheese used for the four-square pizza is used proportionately, I estimate that the amount of cheese for that pizza comes to about 8.57 ounces, or 0.1071428 ounces per square inch. In both cases, the cheese is distributed to the outer edges of the pizzas to crisp up during baking. The cheese is put on the pizzas before the sauce.
5. The sauce for the Buddy’s pizzas is a non-chunky sauce and, according to Buddy’s, is made with a “blend of Stanislaus premium tomato products”, along with a proprietary blend of spices and herbs. The sauce is put on the pizzas in dollops to form wide “strips” (see http://bp0.blogger.com/__XShj91sMpw/RlJCGZFbuCI/AAAAAAAAAk4/jIeRhr1ub-U/s1600-h/redwings_5.JPG
). According to EDIT 5 below, the sauce is put on the pizza prior to baking, unlike several other Detroit style pizza operators (including the Detroit Style Pizza Co, Via 313 and Klausie's Pizza) who put the sauce on the pizza either mid-bake (on a pre-baked crust with cheese applied) or after baking, using deck ovens rather than conveyor ovens.
6. The pepperoni used by Buddy’s on its pizzas is believed to be the Margherita brand. It is a coarse grind pepperoni that is sold under the designation “Coarse Grind Pepperoni”, #38616-31329 (Reply 79, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg69983.html#msg69983
). The pepperoni slices are thicker than usual and have been described as being about the size of a quarter. [Note: For an update on the actual size, see EDIT 3 below.] According to Buddy’s, the pepperoni slices are placed under the cheese blend to prevent charring. Based on http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/08Mf788bNv6xv/340x.jpg
, the four-square pepperoni pizza appears to have 20 pepperoni slices. Extrapolating to the larger size pan (the eight-square pan), a total of about 35 pepperoni slices seems possible.
7. The Buddy’s pizzas are said to be baked for 12 minutes in an infrared conveyor oven (see Reply 28 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg62915.html#msg62915
). I believe the ovens--that appear to be a triple stack with a hood--are shown in the background at http://wwwimage.cbsnews.com/images/2008/02/29/image3891595g.jpg
(see also what appears to be an oil container and brush to the left and behind Mary Hellers, the Buddy’s worker). The only bake temperature I have noted—375 degrees F (and a 13-minute bake time)--is the one given in Reply 98 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg73872#msg73872
[Note: See EDIT 3 below.] Buddy’s also sells so-called “Half-Baked” pizzas (http://web.archive.org/web/20120616150159/http://www.buddyspizza.com/documents/HALF-BAKEDinstructions.pdf
) and, for those pizzas, it recommends that they be baked at 375-400 degrees F. I have seen no evidence of any pre-baking of the crusts. Note: For an update on the Buddy's ovens, see EDIT 5 below.
Despite what we feel we know about the Buddy’s pizzas, there is much we do not know. For example, we don’t know the precise ingredients and quantities of ingredients used by Buddy’s, and we don’t know how much dough is used to make a particular pizza. We would have to purchase a basic Buddy’s pizza, such as a cheese pizza, weigh it, and try to work backwards to arrive at a possible dough weight and thickness factor. I also believe that the use of a bromated flour is an important aspect of the Buddy’s dough, and that the dough preparation and management methods, including hydration values, are also critical to the success of the Buddy’s pizzas. I also think that concentrating on a room-temperature fermented dough, either alone or in conjunction with a period of cold storage (but mainly for dough management purposes rather than for better crust flavor), is a productive way to proceed. I do not believe that “double kneading” is as important as Buddy’s has led us to believe. Some form of stretch and fold, or a rest period in the mixer followed by a final few turns, or a simple punchdown after an initial rise in the pan, should, in my opinion, serve as reasonable substitutes for the Buddy’s double knead method.
EDIT 1 (12/11/10): Buddy's has changed its website and no longer talks about double kneading or the use of Stanislaus tomatoes or Wisconsin brick cheese although the double stretch method is mentioned in the Buddy's basic menu. Also. it also appears that Buddy's has gone to Foremost Farms cheeses, as noted on the Buddy's menu.
EDIT 2 (11/2/12): Buddy's no longer indicates on its menu that it uses Foremost Farms cheeses but the fat profile (fat per ounce) that Buddy's indicates for the brick cheese it uses is the same as for the Foremost Farms brick cheese (http://foremostfarms.com/Commercial/pdfs/Nutritional%20Information/NDS_Brick.pdf
); on 11/1/12, Buddy's revealed that its flour has a protein content of 12.2% (see Reply 105 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21559.msg220791.html#msg220791
); Buddy's also revealed that it uses about 8 ounces of brick cheese on its 4-square pizza and half the amount of dough that it uses for its 8-square pizza (see Reply 470 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg220496.html#msg220496
); according to the information at Reply 318 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg136795#msg136795
, the Buddy's pizza sauce is made from tomato paste, water and seasoning, whisked together ahead of time. For additional updates, see Reply 278 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg119818#msg119818
EDIT 3 (11/14/12): According to Reply 318 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3783.msg136795#msg136795
, the Buddy's bake temperature is 495 degrees F and the bake time is 11-12 minutes; based on information provided by Armour Eckrich on the coarse grind pepperoni, the slices are 36mm in diameter (see Reply 314 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21559.msg223442.html#msg223442
EDIT 4 (1/1/13): According to the information provided by Buddy's in Reply 941 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=21559.msg229714#msg229714
, Buddy's has been using conveyor ovens for over 30 years. Also, as noted at Reply 706 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21559.msg227219.html#msg227219
and later in the same thread, there appears to be substantial evidence that Buddy's is either using no salt in its dough or a minuscule and nondetectible amount, or possibly the Buddy's nutrition information on sodium is incorrect.
EDIT 5 (1/4/13): According to Reply 1026 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=21559.msg230188#msg230188
, Buddy's places the sauce on the pizzas before baking, not during mid-bake or after baking as do others who specialize in the Detroit style pizza (using deck ovens); according to Reply 1040 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=21559.msg230250#msg230250
, Buddy's has switched to air impingement gas fired conveyor ovens.
EDIT 6 (1/19/13): Paragraph 2 updated to reflect comments of Wes Pikula, VP of Operations at Buddy's, that the dough is stretched numerous times.
EDIT 7 (7/19/13): The Buddy's dough preparation method as described in item 2 above, including the meaning of "double kneading", is confirmed by a former Buddy's worker at Reply 582 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg266486.html#msg266486
EDIT 8 (2/11/16): For a corrected version of the Wes Pikula inoperative link in item 2 above, see http://www.pmq.com/June-2011/Time-capsule-Buddys-Rendezvous-Pizza/
EDIT 9 (2/14/16): For an interesting and informative podcast, dated November 2, 2015 and featuring Wes Pikula, VP of Operation at Buddy's, see http://info.schweidandsons.com/podcast/wes-pikula-how-to-create-loyal-workforce-customer-base-through-company-culture
. The podcast mentions that at times the dough balls were held in coolers, and could be sometimes used the next day, with any unused dough being discarded. The pans are seasoned blue steel pans with a black appearance.
EDIT 10 (2/16/16): For the Wayback Machine version of the link in the first paragraph of this post, see http://web.archive.org/web/20100712113114/http://www.buddyspizza.com/secret.htm