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Author Topic: Back in the New York Groove  (Read 6477 times)

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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2020, 09:40:03 PM »
That is an amazing collection of tomatoes...wish I was there for the taste test

Thanks!  I'm a fan of all of them.  I really like the Pastenes - very similar to the 7/11s - I've never done a blind comparison between the two so I'm looking forward to it.  I got turned onto the Alta Cucinas and Valorosos at Rubirosa - they used a 50/50 mix for their pizza sauce and vodka sauce. 

Scarr's used passata until he went to the Pizza Expo a couple years ago and tried them there.  He told me he loved them straight out of the can and changed immediately.  That's what put them on my radar.  I've tried them since and they are very good.

I wanted to put a DOP San Marzano in there as well and wanted to buy a case of the Gustarosso San Marzano tomatoes that are absurdly-priced. I also wanted to check out some of their flours.   I reached out and was told they didn't have time for me this year...check back in a couple of months!!!  I have since reached out to a mill that they distribute because I wanted them to know how they were being represented. They've completely turned me off to carrying any type of DOP San Marzano.  With great quality and service available in the US, at way better prices, I'd question their business practices, but don't have time to straighten them out.  Their loss.


Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #61 on: November 19, 2020, 10:10:09 PM »
Man, those guys did such a great job on the counter.  1 3/4in quartz topped and a fantastic job on the wood.  I gave them no direction other than - just get it done please, I need to open the shop. 

They're coming back tomorrow to finalize the rest of the finish work.  Not a lot left to do - bathroom (all black, very satanic) framing the menu boards with the same wood trim and a slide for deliveries from the sidewalk to the basement - because even without deliveries that spiral staircase is gonna kill me one day...

« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 10:13:42 PM by Andrew Bellucci »

Offline waltertore

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #62 on: November 19, 2020, 10:40:43 PM »
Thanks Walter!  As the great Joe DiMaggio once said:  I'd rather be lucky than good.

I got the chance to use a Pizzamaster for a few weeks in Shanghai.  Joe's Pizza out there had a test kitchen and they wanted to see how close the Joe's pie could be replicated in an electric oven.  Prior to that experience I didn't have a favorable opinion of electric ovens - but that's because I wasn't using the right one!  Once I was able to dial in the oven, you couldn't tell if the Joe's pie came out of the Pizzamaster or the old school Baker's Pride.

What really convinced me was when I used a Moretti oven in Bangkok.  I was able to achieve my dream pie in a 4 minute bake.  Pie after pie.  Very very consistent - but there was a bit of a lag on recovery with very large orders.  The Pizzamaster has way better recovery time so I went with the 933.

One of the things I learned in Bangkok for an Italian consultant they flew in was the Italian style of building on the counter four pies and then opening the oven and putting in 4 pies one after the other instead of build, launch, build, launch.  I knew that could be done with smaller pies but I always figured 18" pies would stick to the marble, especially with toppings.  But with the a 50/50 mix of semolina and flour LIGHTLY dusted on the bench, I was able to open, stretch top and launch 4 pies in machine gun style.

Then work on the next 4 pies, launch and turn the first set of 4.  There were only two decks there, so it was easy doable for one strong pie man.  No way I'd do 3 decks by myself without an oven man.  But I did have my pizza station custom built with a 22" deep marble work surface.  I've got a 20" GI Metal peel and I'm gonna see if I can build and launch 20" slice pies right off the marble.  We'll see!!

The Pizzamaster 933 says you can fit 6 pies on each deck.  But I figured with 4 on each deck, with a 5 minute bake (giving myself an extra minute) I could do 100 pies in an hour fairly easily  - with 2 pie guys, an oven guy and a cutter/expediter.  That's what Joe's max is using 2 double deck Baker's Prides.  With the longer baking time on the BPs the pizza guys actually have to slow done the pace and let the ovens catch up - otherwise there's no room in the oven.  On those huge orders I feel really bad for the oven guy - that's not an easy job!!

I love Blodgett's.  I used a really old one for 6 months on Hawaii.  Two double decks and the bottom left deck was extra tall (I posted a picture below) - had like a 2 foot clearance. You could cook a turkey in it easy.  Gave a great bake.

Earlier this year I in Park City, Utah and had to make pizzas for a promotional event.  I knew nothing about the place until I walked in an saw an old Blodgett.  The owners said it had been in the place since 1962 - older than me!  They were baking at 450 and I asked if I could turn it all the way up for my gig.  "But you'll burn your pies - it gets really hot!"

I made some dough (the couldn't understand why I was wasn't using warm water) and put it in the cooler.  When the pies came out they couldn't believe they came out of that oven.  As we both know, it's all in the technique!!  Everyone has access to the same tools.  You just have to know how to use them!!

https://www.redbanjoparkcity.com/

Andrew:  I have heard nothing but great things on the pizza masters from several owners.  I think you can only go 1 large pie deep on them right ? Your blodgett picture has ones with smaller doors than mine- bout 12 inches interior height and more than double the BTU's of the ovens in your photo.  Much like your story on help we knew no one moving here and found these guys as you did to help me move my babies in.  I can work on them and for the years we have left they will long outlast us.  Frank Mastro took the coal oven in the 30's  and hooked gas to it and started the deck oven craze that made NY pizza a household name.  I have hours of conversation recorded with his then 90 year old daughter who shared so much info it is amazing.  They owned that block on the Bowery that is now Bari.  They had a pizza school, restaurant supply, and dough making factory for frozen dough that would ship to their franchise shops in NY/NJ.  Here is a photo of my ovens and an article on the Mastro empire that Norma and I helped write for PMQ.  The first picture shows Frank Mastro developing the 1000 in the mid 50's,  Your shop is looking great. 

https://www.pmq.com/the-pizza-kings-the-strange-sad-story-of-the-industrys-greatest-and-most-tragic-visionaries/
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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #63 on: November 19, 2020, 11:41:36 PM »
Andrew:  I have heard nothing but great things on the pizza masters from several owners.  I think you can only go 1 large pie deep on them right ?

Here's what I'm gonna do: tomorrow, I'll place 18" cutouts (I'm guessing that 18" = a large pie) in the 933 so we'll see what the configuration is for pies.  I'll post photos of the layout...

Offline waltertore

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #64 on: November 20, 2020, 12:08:26 AM »
Here's what I'm gonna do: tomorrow, I'll place 18" cutouts (I'm guessing that 18" = a large pie) in the 933 so we'll see what the configuration is for pies.  I'll post photos of the layout...

Thanks Andrew and hopefully you can start firing them up soon!
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Offline waltertore

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #65 on: November 20, 2020, 12:17:11 AM »
Here's what I'm gonna do: tomorrow, I'll place 18" cutouts (I'm guessing that 18" = a large pie) in the 933 so we'll see what the configuration is for pies.  I'll post photos of the layout...

Thanks Andrew.  I have their brochure and it says 6-18" pies per deck.  That would be 18 with 3 ovens. My blodgetts can do 8 with 2 ovens.  We do 16" pies and do 12 with the 2 ovens and no room to spare side to side (oven interior is 49" wide). hopefully you can start firing them up soon!
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Offline woodfiredandrew

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #66 on: November 20, 2020, 10:00:15 AM »
Here's what I'm gonna do: tomorrow, I'll place 18" cutouts (I'm guessing that 18" = a large pie) in the 933 so we'll see what the configuration is for pies.  I'll post photos of the layout...

PM rep says 6 x 18"/deck for 900 series but i am very skeptical, i think more like 5 pies per deck realistically. I am curious to see.....   

Offline Georgev

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #67 on: November 20, 2020, 10:11:59 AM »
PM rep says 6 x 18"/deck for 900 series but i am very skeptical, i think more like 5 pies per deck realistically. I am curious to see.....

Each stone is 36x36. It works but itís tight.

Offline woodfiredandrew

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #68 on: November 20, 2020, 10:16:55 AM »
Each stone is 36x36. It works but itís tight.

Have you used it practically in rush hours, it works in theory. i think each stone is 18x36.

Offline scott r

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2020, 10:22:34 AM »
I love that burned wood....  how did I never know about that trick!   Looks awesome in there.

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Offline quietdesperation

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2020, 11:22:28 AM »
I got the chance to use a Pizzamaster for a few weeks in Shanghai.  Joe's Pizza out there had a test kitchen and they wanted to see how close the Joe's pie could be replicated in an electric oven.  Prior to that experience I didn't have a favorable opinion of electric ovens - but that's because I wasn't using the right one!  Once I was able to dial in the oven, you couldn't tell if the Joe's pie came out of the Pizzamaster or the old school Baker's Pride.

andrew, is your plan to use the oven to reproduce a baker's pride bake? I ask, because I had a slice at Norm's in brooklyn, I think they were baking around 600F in a pizzamaster and it was just a beautiful bake.

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=59147.msg593412#msg593412
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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #71 on: November 21, 2020, 11:33:02 AM »
I know that Pizzamaster says each deck on the 933 can hold six 18" pies - but that gives no room for maneuvering. the reason I spent $35,000 on the 933 was several-fold, not the least of which was recovering time.

If I were to bake four 18" pies per deck, the output would be 48 pies per deck per hour.  That's achieved with 2 pie makers,  1 person on the oven and one cutter/expedieter. using all three decks that would be 144 pies in an hour.

12:00 - 4
12:01 - 4
12:02 - 4
12:05 - 4
12:06 - 4
12:07 - 4
12:10 - 4
12:11 - 4
12:12 - 4
12:15 - 4
12:16 - 4
12:17 - 4
12:20 - 4
12:21 - 4
12:22 - 4
12:25 - 4
12:26- 4
12:27 - 4
12:30 - 4
12:31 - 4
12:32 - 4
12:35 - 4
12:36 - 4
12:37 - 4
12:40 - 4
12:41 - 4
12:42 - 4
12:45 - 4
12:46 - 4
12:47 - 4
12:50 - 4
12:51 - 4
12:52 - 4
12:55 - 4
12:56- 4
12:57 - 4

I wouldn't run all three decks that way - I'd use two decks for a big order and the third for other orders/in-house.  It's all about efficiency.  Of course, that's only possible if you have top, top pizzamakers.  I'm lucky enough to draw from the greatest talent pool in the world for pizzamakers, NYC.  I've got two guys lined up who I've worked with extensively and are faster than me - and I ain't slow.  On a 100 pie order, working side-by-side with Joe's top guy, I'd do 46 pies and he'd do 54.  But I'm better looking, so I've got that going for me.   ;D

And unless I had a 50+ pie order to bust out, I wouldn't even put 4 pies in per deck - I'm a huge fan of Joe's "triangle system":

1 pie in front, 2 in back, then reverse on the next go-round.  That gives the stones even more time to recover and ensures a more even bake throughout the cycle.  Plus it puts less pressure on the oven guy.  The more room to move, the less room for error.

I threw some 20" screens in the oven (marked off by blue tape to show 18") and have the photos below...Would anyone try to put SIX pies in that deck?  I wouldn't...

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #72 on: November 21, 2020, 11:38:17 AM »
I love that burned wood....  how did I never know about that trick!   Looks awesome in there.

I agree!  When the guy broke out the blowtorch, I'm like:  WTF???  What a great technique.  Now where incorporating wood into all the trimming (like menu board frames) and we've commissioned these guys to do the outside storefront.  It's tricky because we have two exhaust vents where an awning would go, but the've come up with a wooden alternative that would ind=corporate the exhaust.  It'll take a week.  We told them yesterday we have full trust in whatever you're doing - design it, build it, and we'll cut you a check...

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #73 on: November 21, 2020, 12:08:23 PM »
andrew, is your plan to use the oven to reproduce a baker's pride bake? I ask, because I had a slice at Norm's in brooklyn, I think they were baking around 600F in a pizzamaster and it was just a beautiful bake.

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=59147.msg593412#msg593412

To be honest, I don't really think of replicating any oven's bake.  I know what I want my pie to be like texture-wise so that's what I go for - and with the Pizzamaster I know I can achieve it.  If I had to choose an oven that I was replicating it would be more coal than gas...

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #74 on: November 21, 2020, 12:35:13 PM »
I agree!  When the guy broke out the blowtorch, I'm like:  WTF???  What a great technique.  Now where incorporating wood into all the trimming (like menu board frames) and we've commissioned these guys to do the outside storefront.  It's tricky because we have two exhaust vents where an awning would go, but the've come up with a wooden alternative that would ind=corporate the exhaust.  It'll take a week.  We told them yesterday we have full trust in whatever you're doing - design it, build it, and we'll cut you a check...

I used to use that method a hundred years ago when still in high school when making wood frames and wooden pseudo-decoupage stuff! Really makes woodgrain JUMP out!!!
Jon

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Offline waltertore

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2020, 06:43:37 PM »
Thanks for visual Andrew.  I wonder how hard is would be launching/taking out a full oven with 2 deep pies?   with lots of toppings?  the height of the interior is pretty short.  I have heard from some people they only put 1 pie deep not 2 because of this.  I have worked on old ovens all my life with tons of interior height. The good news is recovery time is great.
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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #76 on: November 21, 2020, 08:21:40 PM »
Thanks for visual Andrew.  I wonder how hard is would be launching/taking out a full oven with 2 deep pies?   with lots of toppings?  the height of the interior is pretty short.  I have heard from some people they only put 1 pie deep not 2 because of this.  I have worked on old ovens all my life with tons of interior height. The good news is recovery time is great.

It's not easy getting the pies out two deep.  Even with the Joe's triangle system, you still have the front pie partially blocking the two back pies.  Very little room for error in the Baker's Prides, which are shorter than the old Blodgett's.

When I was at Joe's in Times Square - where pre-pandemic they'd do about 7,000 pies a week - I did the ovens for a couple of shifts.  It almost killed me.  I got through it - but not unscathed...

Offline waltertore

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #77 on: November 21, 2020, 10:03:19 PM »
It's not easy getting the pies out two deep.  Even with the Joe's triangle system, you still have the front pie partially blocking the two back pies.  Very little room for error in the Baker's Prides, which are shorter than the old Blodgett's.

When I was at Joe's in Times Square - where pre-pandemic they'd do about 7,000 pies a week - I did the ovens for a couple of shifts.  It almost killed me.  I got through it - but not unscathed...

I hear you. I have worked with the newer BP ovens and they are pretty short compared to my ovens.  Still I get burned fairly regularly doing 12 - 16" pies in both decks much of the night (capacity) and at 48" wide pies need to be launched with pinpoint accuracy as 3 wide = the width of the deck and the front left/right have to be launched sideways as the oven door is narrower than the deck ( to save heat).  The great news is my ovens need no rotating of pies which means I launch, take out, open, sauce, every pie we make.  It seems every newer oven needs at least a rotation or more.  I wonder what the pizzamasters will require?  At 63 my body doesn't maneuver like it use to but my mind still thinks it does.  To combat that I bought these oven sleeves as my wife was getting upset I was blood staining the king size bed sheets too much. Now I just get occasional hand/finger burns. 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 10:12:37 PM by waltertore »
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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #78 on: November 21, 2020, 10:49:28 PM »
When I consulted for Joe's in Shanghai (2017) I got to use a Pizzamaster in their test kitchen.  Once the oven is dialed in, it requires no turning - you just launch the pies, work on the next set of 3-4, launch and remove the previous set,  etc.  It's all about workflow and rhythm.

When I opened Lombardi's, the large pie was 16".  In addition to being so much more profitable than an 18" or 20" slice pie, it's so much easier to handle.

It's very easy to work with a 16" pie.  There are very few pie men who can handle a 20" pie.  Once you've mastered the workflow on a 20" pie, working with and 18" or 16" is like comparing a Matchbox to a Porsche:  two totally different worlds.

I like to challenge myself.  I could have punked out like F&F and Norm's who use an 18" pie as both delivery and slice pies.  But I want to give the people a bigger bang for their buck. 

I'm old school NYC: My mantra is - for pizza - the slice is the fundamental means of transaction and measure.  I want to be approachable to all.  If you have $5, you'll get a slice of the HIGHEST QUALITY and a beverage without jumping through any hoops.  No pre-ordering at $20+.  No showing up on my schedule.  I make it easy and approachable - because in New York - the pizza capital of the UNIVERSE - customers expect quality, value and efficiency.  My goal is to deliver on all three of those benchmarks.

I could have made it easy on myself and just offered 12" pies.  So much more profitable and I could bust out 100 of those BY MYSELF in one hour.  But I like to be challenged.  So no shortcuts for me.

There's an article in Grubstreet where they ranked the best slices in New York.  And they didn't include DiFara's - because you had to jump through too many hoops.  I agree with them.  I will always defer to the customer rather than my own benefit.  What can I say:  I'm a perfectionist with a validation complex.  Sucks for me, but it's great for my customers!!!

Your wife sounds awesome!  My wife takes pleasure in seeing me bleed.  And I'm happy to accommodate her sadistic tendencies...


Offline quietdesperation

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Re: Back in the New York Groove
« Reply #79 on: November 21, 2020, 11:00:18 PM »
I hear you. I have worked with the newer BP ovens and they are pretty short compared to my ovens.  Still I get burned fairly regularly doing 12 - 16" pies in both decks much of the night (capacity) and at 48" wide pies need to be launched with pinpoint accuracy as 3 wide = the width of the deck and the front left/right have to be launched sideways as the oven door is narrower than the deck ( to save heat).  The great news is my ovens need no rotating of pies which means I launch, take out, open, sauce, every pie we make.  It seems every newer oven needs at least a rotation or more.  I wonder what the pizzamasters will require?  At 63 my body doesn't maneuver like it use to but my mind still thinks it does.  To combat that I bought these oven sleeves as my wife was getting upset I was blood staining the king size bed sheets too much. Now I just get occasional hand/finger burns.

walter, I could like at photos of your pizza all day.
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