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Author Topic: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style  (Read 15772 times)

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Offline Ogwoodfire

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #80 on: September 19, 2017, 08:30:51 PM »
Hey Eddie! Let me know when you are there you can't miss me, I'm always there. If your getting the redpack or full red equivalent there's no need to reduce you actually want to water it down (I could have read your post wrong now that I think about it) but I'm pretty sure you get what I'm saying. The reducing canned tomato thing was just my own expirament and didn't really taste like what I know as Buffalo style pizza but was good nonetheless.

Offline a2zed

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #81 on: September 19, 2017, 09:38:21 PM »
Jay--I got it (I think)....looking forward to meeting this weekend.

Offline Ogwoodfire

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2017, 11:50:33 AM »
I have to say, Iíve really had the bug for good buffalo style pizza lately and plan on resuming this thread as soon as as Iím back from the Caputo cup next week. While I still regard Bocce, Imperial and Leonardis the best of the best, Iíve recently relaxed on some of my beliefs on how this pizza should be. My new goal is to recreate this pizza as good as possible going off my memories as kid and using techniques Iíve learned in my career. I have serious thoughts of opening a new place that takes Buffalo style to the next level with some classics and some modern topping combinations. I have purchased a new baking steel, some heavy pans and a new pizza party oven to work on this, hopefully I can produce some good results.

Offline a2zed

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #83 on: October 13, 2017, 09:47:05 AM »
Jay (OGwoodfire) you are very ambitious! I missed you on my last visit (found out Jays Artisan is closed on Sunday). My nephew stopped by and loves your pizza. I hope to see you in Nov when I'm back for a Bills-Sabres weekend, and talk some cup and char--Buffalo style pizza. Would be great to taste your experiments!
--Eddie

Offline Ogwoodfire

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #84 on: October 13, 2017, 11:38:59 AM »
Hey Eddie,

Give me a couple days advance notice and Iíll make up some Buffalo style pizza.

Thanks,
Jay

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Offline Ogwoodfire

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #85 on: October 20, 2017, 02:12:02 PM »
I made a bit of a grandma/buffalo style pizza In a square pan yesterday. It came out okay.

Offline Ogwoodfire

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #86 on: December 07, 2017, 11:15:09 PM »
I decided to make an attempt at a thin and crispy Buffalo style pizza. It was kinda cool because it tasted like Buffalo style pizza but also had great texture.

Offline matermark

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #87 on: March 27, 2018, 04:29:16 AM »
As regional cuisine and Pizza grows within our current state of food culture, I often wonder what happened to true Buffalo, New York style pizza. No, I am not talking about pizza with blue cheese, hot sauce and chicken but something entirely different that I grew fond of as a child. Nowadays, as a food truck owner that serves Neapolitan style wood-fired pizza, I rarely grab a slice of what I was once so find of. It's not that I don't like it anymore, it's just that owner/operators have taken so many shortcuts and ruined a product that was once something truly unique and amazing.

For this study I will focus on 3 establishments that I consider THE ONLY 3 pizzerias paying any respect to what was once truly great pizza. While nearly every pizzeria in the Buffalo area claims to serve authentic Buffalo Style pizza, it is a sad bastardized version of what it once was. The 3 locations that continue to pay homage to our beloved Western New York Pizza, which I will focus on to recreate original Buffalo style pizza, are Bocce Club, Imperial, and Leonardis.

The goal of this investigation will not necessarily re-create what current establishments are serving, but what once was, while we eliminate short cuts and convenience products used over time. I will use my connections in the local pizza industry to dig deep into the early days of Bocce Club which is believe to be the predecessor to both Leonardis and Imperial. 

Bocce Club Pizza: 3 locations, while only 2 are listed on the website there is a 3rd that is still run by family members but not recognized as an official Bocce Club. I have some ties to this location as I worked there many years ago and am hoping the owners will give me some inside information on the "older days"

Bocce Club is stated to have opened in 1946 by Dino Pacciotti and his sister Melvina Sacco who purchased a restaurant that served sandwiches and cocktails named the Bocce Club where Bocce ball was often played. The birth of what we now know as Buffalo style pizza came when Dino found an old pizza oven in the restaurant's basement and began attempting to re-create the pizza which he had grown fond of during World War 2 while in Italy.

There is little information about Imperial pizza available on its website. It is believed by many that the recipes were are similar to Bocce club and may have been a castoff from the original Bocce Club. Hopefully through this process I can learn more about Imperial pizza as it it considered the best of the best by many.

Leonardis is a traditional Buffalo Style pizzeria owned by the Leonardi family opened in 1972. It is also believed to hold similar recipes to Bocce club and again to be opened by a castoff from the Original Bocce Club. Due to the limited hours, this seems to be the least popular of the 3 establishments in this investigation but certainly has value in being looked into.

Going off of the story listed on the Bocce Club website, it can be assumed that Buffalo style pizza has roots to the pizza Dino Pacciotti enjoyed while in Italy during World War 2. While I have yet to gather any information about Dino's whereabouts while in Italy, I am for now going to assume it was not Naples as there is little resemblance to Neapolitan Pizza. Dino himself was a 2nd generation immigrant whose parents came directly from Italy. While I cannot say for certain, a quick Google search provided that the surname Pacciotti is most common among Northern and Central Italian Immigrants; perhaps this has some influence on the style of pizza as well. While I have yet to find any factual information that supports this, I have long theorized that Buffalo style pizza is a descendant of Roman style and Italian Grandma style pizza which has slightly morphed over the years. The moderate thickness of the crust is the first direct relation to roman style pizza as well as the technique of cooking in a pan. I could easily imagine an early American pizza maker learning techniques from a pan style roman pizza but adopting to what had become the norm in America and shaping it round even though situated in a rectangular pan.

In more recent times it seems nearly anything passes as "Buffalo" style pizza. People often say the medium thickness of the crust is due to Buffalo being located in between New York City and Chicago; quite frankly this has nothing to do with it. Years ago the crust on Buffalo style pizza was significantly thinner and toppings less; as time has passed, it seems to be a more loaded up pie that after eating you feel like you were punched in the gut. This is not what I remember or what it was intended to be. Many modern places use round pans, frozen dough, cup and char pepperoni and very sweet sauce. While these characteristics slightly resemble what once was a closer look reveals this is an imposter.

Preparation- Buffalo style pizza is made in a rectangular sheet pan coated with lard and sometimes olive oil. The dough is stretched and topped with sauce, then a hard aged cheese, shredded whole milk mozzarella, oregano, then toppings. The pizza should be made right to the edge. There is no crust or cornicione, the entire pizza is the same thickness. This is the preparation I learned and seems to be consistent with the information I have available.

Dough/Crust- it seems that this is most certainly one of the characteristics that has evolved the most over time. Today it seems all locations making this pizza use some form of high gluten flour and it states the same in a 1972 article I found about Bocce Club. The article states that high gluten flour is used to obtain a crisp bottom crust, I don't necessarily find this to be true and it is unlikely Bocce Club was using high gluten flour in 1946. When I learned to make Bocce style dough, I recall the hydration to be in the high 50s, salt was around 2%, sugar around 1% and IDY around 1% as well. The desired end product should have a crispy bottom and light and airy body. I have found the desired texture to be very spongy on the top, cooked and not doughy. I believe the route I will take in the re-creation is through a bread flour, cake yeast and combination of refrigerated and unrefrigerated dough. In my recreation I will look into Italian Grandma style recipes as well as roman style recipes to develop the desired characteristics.

Sauce- Modern day Buffalo style pizza most commonly uses Red Pack sauce with water and a blend of spices, sugar and salt. The only other sauces that are commonly used seem to be Full Red and Bonta brand (Escalon). In the article I found located in Bocce Club, it stated that either seasoned crushed tomatoes or cooked down whole peeled tomatoes were used. Characteristics of a typical Buffalo style sauce are often a rich cooked down and sweeter sauce, so it seems the cooked down version may be the way to go in re-creating original Buffalo Style pizza

Cheese- Cheese seems to be the most straightforward of the process. Shredded whole milk mozzarella seems to be the norm. I'm not sure if at one point fresh mozzarella was used but it seems unlikely. For the layer of hard cheese that goes on top of the sauce during preparation I will use Parmigiana.

Toppings- While it seems most toppings are typical, pepperoni stands out to me as being special on this style. Modern pizzerias often use pre-prepared cup and char pepperoni in a a collagen casing which causes the pepperoni to "cup and char". Some of the better places locally use a combination of cup and char pepperoni and pepperoni sliced right off the stick. The best places use strictly pepperoni sliced off the stick, which is what I will use for this re-creation.
 
Cooking- In my experience most pizzerias producing this style pizza are now cooking in the 450-500 range. The article I have found from 1972 states pizzas were cooked between 600-630 degrees with a cook time under 10 minutes.

For this experiment I will start with several types of fermentation and a dough with bread flour that will start at 60% hydration; I believe they may have cut hydration for ease of use over time. The initial sauce will be a heavily cooked-down sauce of peeled Italian tomatoes with traditional seasonings of Buffalo style pizza. Cheese will be hand shredded whole milk mozzarella and imported Parmigiana hand grated over the sauce. For quality reasons, Sicilian oregano will be used over the top of the cheese layer. Pepperoni will be hand cut on a bias off of the stick of locally produced Battistoni meats.

I am hoping for any input which may be available on this forum as I continue to re-engineer great Buffalo style pizza. This is a fluid recipe and the more information I obtain from research and sources the better.
Wow, I haven't been here in a couple years! Buffalo style getting honored finally! I'm a nearly-lifetime Buffalonian! Don't forget Santora's, I recently saw photos of what I think was their original location since the '40's, maybe earlier, heading downtown... I forgot the street, maybe Seneca or Division or something, between Fillmore and Downtown. I delivered for the Santora's on Abbott Rd for a short time, and Poochie's on Bailey, near Lovejoy, which was previously Frank's when I grew up in the '60's & early '70's. Famous in Lovejoy was Pizza John's Knotted Bar with dandelions!

Gotta get back to catching up, my home oven took a crap and won't start, so I'm limited to 13" pizzas in the toaster oven or the $35-$40 pizza oven I "reviewed" here somewhere until I get it fixed.

By the way, today I had a pizza from a place on Clinton St near Rossler, I think the name was 1PIE Pizza, it was about a half-sheet, cut into 10 rectangular slices, sauce sweeter than most other places and just about to the edges, hand-sliced pepperoni, and a little container of homemade blue cheese with every pizza. A little pricey at $16, when all the chains are battling over sub-$10 pizzas.

Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #88 on: August 13, 2018, 01:57:11 PM »
An ode to Buffalo style pizza with a nice mention of Jay (ogwoodfire) at the beginning.

https://amp.thedailybeast.com/is-americas-pizza-capital-buffalo-new-york

Offline matermark

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #89 on: August 13, 2018, 08:43:59 PM »
So Sunday I decided to try All Trumps High-Gluten flour. I used Ogwoodfire's WNY-style recipe. I used Bonta and Red Pack together (Og's recipe from what he remembers...this was posted back a few months ago). Once the dough was mixed, I let it rise for 20 min at room temp. Then I balled it in 28oz and put in fridge for 24 hours. The next day I took it out to get to a room temperature (probably another 2 hours). I then made it into a 17" circle on my counter. I have a big pan but it wont fit in the oven so I cut it in half and put the dough on two different trays. before I put the dough on the pans, I greased each pan with a liberal amount of lard. I let it sit out and sprayed the dough with water every 20-25 minutes for 2 hours. Then I put on the sauce, pecorino romano, whole milk cheese, pepperoni and oregano.  I preheated my oven to 550 and cooked for about 8 or 9 minutes and "decked" it on a stone for 1-2 minutes. By far the best pizza that I've made. I posted some pictures. I forgot to take a pic of the bottom of the crust. We all devoured it before I thought about it. It was honestly the BEST pizza I've made, possibly better than Bocce's (well, Bocce's nowadays)! Thanks Ogwoodfire!!

THIS FIRST ATTEMPT, the pizza cut in half to fit the tray, just sauced, reminds me of 2 Buffalo pizzarias---they both just used tomato PASTE---Norm's on Broadway a few blocks west of Bailey, no longer there tho someone said it's in the 'burbs, maybe Amherst or Depew? the other place is or was a local chain---Avenue! But they had completely different pizzas amongst different locations. The one on Broadway (near Bailey) has a round pizza with a noticable cornicione and a light & airy crust with a very noticably sweet sauce---they must have added sugar. The Genessee near Pine Ridge location went out of business, probably due to the blight that consumes that neighborhood; its pizza was more like a "box-filler" pie---it was somewhere between a round and a square pizza, cut from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock, then parallel horizontal cuts, making the majority of the slices llllooonnnggg rectangles. Someone I knew worked there and my girlfriend worked at the bar across the side street, and I'd go get a pizza for the Bills game for some friends and I, and I swear some of the pizzas had to weigh 4 to 5 pounds, heavy with cheese & pepperoni and whatever else we wanted. His sister said she didn't like the pizza because they just used tomato paste right out of the can--no water to thin it down... it was one of the first places I remember that had pizza on sale on an off-day (Sunday? Monday?) and it was STILL more expensive than all the pizzerias in my neighborhood (Lovejoy/Iron Island/Sloan), long before national chains began slugging it out with "any" large pizza $10* (*extra cheese extra.)

Another friend always drove all the way to La Nova for pizza, and I remember my Dad's boss from Bethlehem Steel and his wife would stop over & have a few beers together when I was a kid and used to leave and come back with a pizza from Bocce's, I think they had a location on South Park or somewhere. At one time I remember a Bocce's location in a little strip mall on French Rd near Transit too...

What was the pizzeria near the 33 overpass on Bailey? 

EDIT: Gator, sorry, I should have directed the Buffalo questions to Jay, but I figured everybody would see & read & jump in as they feel they need or should...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 12:43:46 AM by matermark »

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Offline LangfelderJ

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #90 on: September 12, 2018, 11:12:45 PM »
Hey guys this is Jay (ogwoodfire) I donít know what happened to my previous screen name Iím having a hard time recovering it.

John thanks for pointing out that article itís was an excerpt from Arthurís book, heís came by the restaurant a couple times now, really nice guy and a true pizza nerd like us. He had an impressive knowledge of pizza many places in the US. He has a recipe book coming out soon and I believe he mentioned he referenced this thread for some the pizza recipe (I believe).

Mark I do not recall the pizzeria at the 33 and bailey but I can picture one there in my head. Iíll drive by one of these days and see if I can see anything but Iím pretty sure thereís one still there. When I check the map it says ďBaileysĒ pizza but Iím pretty sure this was something else.

I found an interesting pizzeria in Milan that reminded me much of Buffao style called Spontini. Iíve also been working on some buffalo style hybrids for our Wednesday pop ups at the restaurant and when we nail one down Iíll report back.

Thanks,
Jay

Offline matermark

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #91 on: September 13, 2018, 02:12:04 AM »
I used to work at Poochie's, mostly delivering, they were in the old Frank's Pizzeria on Bailey a couple spots south of E. Lovejoy, then they moved up Bailey a couple blocks north of Delevan near Alma I think. I used to hang with a girl on Decker, and another one on Weston, Mernan Chevrolet was kinda between the 2 streets. Back to the pizzeria near the Kensington, I can't remember if it was south or north of the viaduct, but it was within probably a few hundred feet of it, on the west side of Bailey. Looking on a Google map shows Bailey Avenue Pizza north of the bridge...

Offline Ogwoodfire

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #92 on: October 08, 2018, 02:50:13 PM »
Iím excited to say I will be finally making the rounds on Buffalo style pizza again. The plan is to do regular pop ups in my pizzeria focusing on evolving buffalo style pizza. Much of the framkerwork has been laid out in this thread but the goal is to incorporate better ingredients and techniques into Buffao style pizza. My key points of emphasis will be a defined caramilzed crust, a crispy bottom, and the use of a more natural tomato. I can just no longer get behind the concentrated red pack. I have decided to go with a large heavy, coated, 18Ē tapered pan for the pizza instead of my usual sheet pan. This pan will allow a defined edge as well as the seasoned style pan Iím looking for. The pans had to be custom ordered so Iím hoping to have them in a couple weekswhich is when testing will begin. My big questions right now are how to make the dough. Iím thinking of changing from my original formula to something with a pre ferment or perhaps a longer CF. Iím also considering a par bake with just tomato to replicate the flavor of the concentrated tomato Buffalo style pizza is known for.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 02:53:11 PM by Ogwoodfire »

Offline matermark

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Re: Re-Engineering Buffalo, NY style
« Reply #93 on: October 09, 2018, 12:23:45 AM »
In the summer when the table's full it's easier for me to pick up a couple 28oz dough balls and make two 13" pizzas in the toaster oven! I divide one ball into two and stick the 2nd 28oz ball in the freezer and the 2 smaller pieces of dough into the fridge for a couple days to ferment. I make the 1st after a day or 2, and the 2nd after 4 or 5 days. 28oz balls are $1.50ea.

When the oven worked, and I had 2 dough balls I'd thaw them and grease one 13x18" sheet pan and flip a 2nd pan over & put saran wrap on the inverted bottom of the 2nd pan. I roll the dough out to the edges, cover each with saran or the bags from the dough, then shoot over to Camillo's in Sloan and tell the guy I want 12 slices of mozzarella as thick as a pencil.

I come back home and the dough has risen and I put the slices down on the dough that's greased on the bottom, edges touching and use a slice or 2 to fill the gap down the center so the one is pretty much covered completely with thick mozz, to within about 3/4" of the edges.

Then I remove the plastic wrap from the 2nd sheet, flip it onto the cheese-covered first dough sheet, remove the plastic wrap, crimp the edges all around and fold under, put some olive oil & fresh rosemary on the top crust, a little Italian seasoning and just a few very thin shallot slices here & there and bake until brown and the edges sizzle. This is my Deluxe mozzarella version of an Old Forge White pizza! When done, cut down the center and then into 10 cuts and enjoy! I make a Buffalo C & P and an Old Forge (Pa.) White!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 12:59:37 AM by matermark »

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