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Author Topic: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven  (Read 549 times)

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Offline nickyr

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First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« on: July 28, 2018, 09:02:51 PM »
I learned about New Haven-style pizza over the past year and have since had Pepe's twice. It was love at first bite, so I wanted to try making it myself. There's a decent amount of speculation about it on this forum but I didn't find much conclusive about how to make it and I do not have a coal or wood fired oven, so I basically just did a lot of guessing and it came out pretty well.

The main stuff I knew I needed was:

  • Shredded cheese, browned thoroughly
  • Thin dough, as dark as possible (ideally charred, but I'm just working with a home oven)
  • Lots and lots of olive oil

This was my recipe:

Dough

This made four dough balls, although I only ended up making three New Haven-style pizzas. The fourth was highly experimental...

  • 700 grams (100%) Anna type 00 flour
  • 385 grams (55%) water
  • 15 g (2%) olive oil
  • 7 g (1%) salt
  • 4 g (0.6%) instant yeast

I let it rise at room temperature for about 8 hours. (The main reason for that was not having time to start it the night before...)

Sauce

This made a fair amount more than necessary.

  • 1 28 oz can Hunt's whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can Jersey Fresh crushed tomatoes (Do they use Jersey tomatoes in New Haven? Who knows. They should.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • A couple shakes of cayenne pepper
  • A few shakes of oregano

Using a potato masher and a fine strainer, mash most of the juice out of the whole peeled tomatoes. Blend the mashed tomatoes (without their juice) and all other ingredients together (add the crushed tomatoes near the end).

Assembly

  • 1.5 lb block Polly-O whole milk mozzarella, shredded
  • Olive oil

  • Place pizza stone on bottom rack of oven and preheat oven as high as it will go for 1 hour (for me, that was 550 degrees). (For the first pizza, I had the stone higher and was not able to get the crust as dark as I wanted before the cheese browned.)
  • Stretch the dough out as thin as possible.
  • Brush dough thoroughly with olive oil.
  • Spread sauce over crust.
  • Sprinkle mozzarella over top of sauce.
  • Slide pizza on to stone and cook until cheese is very browned (8 minutes at 550 degrees). (I never managed to get the crust as dark as I wanted without risking burning all the cheese.)
  • Drizzle olive oil over the top.
  • Cut ridiculously.

For toppings, I left the first one plain. The second was half black olive and half Calabrian chiles (probably not authentic New Haven, but tasty). The third had olives, Peppadew's (also probably not authentic), and one half had Calabrians.

I would welcome any comments, particularly about how to get the crust darker!

« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 09:05:03 PM by nickyr »

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2018, 09:52:23 PM »
You're off to  a good start...I'll get right to your first point, more browning in crust. The 00 flour is working against you...it's not designed for home oven temperatures...and its not used in NH style pies. Bread flour is easy to find and will make great pies for you.

Offline hammettjr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2018, 09:55:38 PM »
Very nice!

1% salt is pretty low. You may want to try 1.5-1.75%.

What'd you think of the pollyo? I've found it very wet when I've tried it. You may want to experiment with different brands.
Matt

Offline scott r

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2018, 08:37:32 AM »
dont mess with the cheese, thats the same brand they use at pepe's!   The tomatoes they use have a ROA1 can code on top.  There are a number of brands that are this same exact product.   The brand I see the most are cento italain whole peeled.  Make sure to check the top of the can for that ROA1 code... as that is what guarantees that they are the same as pepe's.   They use no oil or sugar in their dough, and Jersey Pie Boy is right... you want a normal american malted flour.   King arthur bread flour will get you very close. 

Offline nickyr

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First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2018, 09:20:24 AM »
Thank you all for these tips!

I had no idea bread flour was the way to go here...I’ll give that a try!

I’ll try adding a bit more salt to the dough as well.

Regarding the cheese, I didn’t find Polly-O too wet and was pretty happy with the flavor. The main thing that surprised me about it was how quickly it browned, but for most of my pizzas I use sliced cheese instead of shredded and a product labeled as “fresh”. I’m curious if a “fresh” product would allow me to bake a bit longer without burning the cheese, but maybe if I make the dough changes everyone is suggesting I won’t need to do that.

scottr, this is great intel, how’d you learn what Pepe’s uses? Do you like the flavor of the Cento whole peeled tomatoes? I haven’t tried them since Cooks’ Illustrated is not a big fan. Maybe theirs weren’t ROA1. I suppose they probably didn’t test on pizza either.

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Offline nickyr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2018, 09:23:52 AM »
They use no oil or sugar in their dough

I’ve heard that adding fat can be important when using a home oven so the longer bake times don’t try the dough out. Do you think it’s safe for me to eliminate the oil? I guess Pepe’s does a longish bake time too, maybe I do want a drier crust.

Offline scott r

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 09:42:47 AM »
I spent many years studying pepes and have made friends with an ex employee.   

The bake times I have logged over the years have ranged from 5 minutes to 12 minutes.  My personal favorite are the 5 minute pies, which you can achieve in a home oven with a baking steel.  If you are trying to duplicate their pizza I would stick with what we know about them (just flour salt yeast water).   The oil will make a more tender crust, but their crust is not very tender. They make a wet dough.   

Those tomatoes are excellent, don't believe review sites.  They could have had a can that was left in the sun on a loading dock, or frozen and thawed and frozen... so many variables.     

Offline hammettjr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 03:53:30 PM »
dont mess with the cheese, thats the same brand they use at pepe's!

I thought it was you Scott that recently confirmed for me that the foodservice pollyo has different nutritional info compared to the retail version? I'm still working on sourcing a loaf.
Matt

Offline nickyr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 10:01:03 PM »
Ooh that's a cool connection to have!

Alright, thanks for all this helpful info. So the things for me to try are:

  • Bread flour
  • More salt: 1.5%-1.75%
  • No oil
  • Higher hydration
  • ROA1 Cento whole peeled tomatoes
  • Baking steel (currently only have a stone)

Offline scott r

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2018, 04:51:58 AM »
I thought it was you Scott that recently confirmed for me that the foodservice pollyo has different nutritional info compared to the retail version? I'm still working on sourcing a loaf.

You are correct, the foodservice version has a higher butterfat content, but sourcing it can be really difficult for a home pizza maker.  The retail version is the next best thing for a pepe's copy, as it does have the same flavor profile. 

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Offline scott r

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2018, 04:53:29 AM »
Ooh that's a cool connection to have!

Alright, thanks for all this helpful info. So the things for me to try are:

  • Bread flour
  • More salt: 1.5%-1.75%
  • No oil
  • Higher hydration
  • ROA1 Cento whole peeled tomatoes
  • Baking steel (currently only have a stone)

Pepe's uses a very high percentage of salt in the dough.   I think its above 2 percent.   

Offline deb415611

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2018, 07:03:58 AM »
you can buy the tomatoes online or in the restaurants now  https://store.triplestitch.com/Pepes-Internet/Products.aspx?Program=Tomatoes
Deb

Offline scott r

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2018, 10:00:47 AM »
I'm curious to see if those are the ROA1 that they were using for years, or if they have a new tomato now that they sell them at retail. 

Offline nickyr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2018, 09:32:33 PM »
Ok, even more salt it is!

Ooh I wonder if you can buy those tomatoes at one of their locations...not quite willing to pay that shipping price unless anyone can confirm these are the greatest tomatoes ever.

Offline hammettjr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2018, 08:19:39 PM »
I'm curious to see if those are the ROA1 that they were using for years, or if they have a new tomato now that they sell them at retail.

I'm not sure I know what that means, but my inlaws were at the pizzeria in Mohegan Sun and picked up a couple cans. Below is the code. Not sure what I'm going to do with them, dont have any interest in putting them on the pies I currently make.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 08:21:37 PM by hammettjr »
Matt

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Offline jkb

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2018, 04:06:18 PM »
I'm not sure I know what that means, but my inlaws were at the pizzeria in Mohegan Sun and picked up a couple cans. Below is the code. Not sure what I'm going to do with them, dont have any interest in putting them on the pies I currently make.

Have tried them yet?  No clue what those are, but the Cento ROA1 is what I use when I know I won't be able to get through a #10 of Stanislaus in a reasonable amount of time.
John

Offline hammettjr

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Re: First attempt at New Haven-style pizza in home oven
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2018, 07:44:56 PM »
Have tried them yet? 

Nope. I suspect they're going to sit in my pantry for a while.
Matt

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