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Hi from Moscow!


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My name is Seva, I'm working as a R&D manager in Dodo Pizza company, the biggest chain in my homeland btw. What we do you already know if you ever step foot in any fast-food point restaurant in the world – pizza, sides (pasta, wings), something for a sweet tooth, drinks. Not much of a novelty. 

 

The hardest part comes though when something needed to be fixed: ss with the latest (and my current project) issue with 'pasta is too dry'. I ran a series of quick consumer research to get that nasty insight and now together with our vendor we are trying to fiddle with the dryness – what if it loses moisture during freeze storage, what if it needs raised hydration, what if our conveyor oven destroys the last bit of all water and the list goes on. 

 

As for a little introduction: I've been working for three years in the professional kitchen (yeah, not much, but still know something about preparing food for 12 hours in a row) and then got a little hand injury, not a big deal, but doctor told me to stay out of the kitchen for a month. That turned my life into another, more scientific, channel. That's when I picked up Harold McGee, Heston Blumenthal, Nathan Myhrvold. I read everything I could get my hands on: from Cooking for Geeks and Ideas in Food to more scientific-y Dave Arnold and alike. I also admire the history of foods and the futuristic outlook of MIT for instance.

 

Now I'm a big fan of industrial food production. I'm taking only first steps here, so if there is anything I must read, please, suggest. Also if you know why the heck is our pasta feels dry to the end consumer, please, comment 🤔😊

 

Also I know something about Russian traditional foods, history (right now I'm digging into constructivist factory-kitchens – famous buildings of Soviet era) and modern cuisine. Well, every question is welcome. 

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Welcome. There are some members here with experience in commercial kitchens, and many others with much insight on the scientific side of food prep. I'm sure you will find many sources of info that will be helpful.

 

Me, I'm just a home cook, and I love learning about experimenting with and learning about the traditional cuisines of other lands, so I'm waiting eagerly for anything you'd like to share about Russian traditional cookery.

Don't ask. Eat it.

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6 hours ago, Seva said:

Also if you know why the heck is our pasta feels dry to the end consumer, please, comment 

 

The doneness degree of pasta depends a lot on local culture. There is quite a big difference even between South and North Italy. What is considered perfect in Naples would be considered too dry in Trento. So it seems like the average Russian customer wants overcooked / chewy pasta. You just need to cook it (boiling stage, not the re-heating) 1 or 2 minutes more. Probably you'll think you are preparing mush, but if this is what customers wants, then it's gold not mush.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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2 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

The doneness degree of pasta depends a lot on local culture. There is quite a big difference even between South and North Italy. What is considered perfect in Naples would be considered too dry in Trento. So it seems like the average Russian customer wants overcooked / chewy pasta. You just need to cook it (boiling stage, not the re-heating) 1 or 2 minutes more. Probably you'll think you are preparing mush, but if this is what customers wants, then it's gold not mush.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Actually, yes, it does depend on the culture, buy what I'm talking about is not me tinkering with the pots and some two days old sauce. 

 

We are talking about common (I guess) technology of producing frozen pasta fresca (fresh) which is initially made, par-boiled and then frozen to be delivered on sight in the restaurant where it would be defrosted in the walk-in during night and then (when it's ordered) it would be filled with toppings and cheese and get in the conveyor oven.

 

So basically we have absolutely no control over the cooking time whatsoever 

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12 hours ago, Seva said:

So basically we have absolutely no control over the cooking time whatsoever 

Do you have control over what pasta you use?  Spaghetti vs. bucatini vs. vermicelli, for example? Ziti vs. penne vs. rigatoni?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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13 hours ago, Seva said:

We are talking about common (I guess) technology of producing frozen pasta fresca (fresh) which is initially made, par-boiled and then frozen to be delivered on sight in the restaurant where it would be defrosted in the walk-in during night and then (when it's ordered) it would be filled with toppings and cheese and get in the conveyor oven.

 

You should give some more details. If you talk about generic pasta, like in the first post, Italians like me think you are talking about dried pasta, not fresh pasta. So you should give a brief description of which kind of fresh pasta you are dealing with (eggs or water? shapes?), sauces too. You also should specify which production steps you have control on, which not. I suppose you have control on at least one of the steps, if you have zero control then it's pretty impossible to fix anything.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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On 12/12/2019 at 2:26 PM, weinoo said:

Do you have control over what pasta you use?  Spaghetti vs. bucatini vs. vermicelli, for example? Ziti vs. penne vs. rigatoni?

We use fusilli. And the good news I think (fingers crossed) I've cracked that thing. The reason for pasta being too dry to most tastes was because it was par-boiled not enough. When I decided to ask our manufacturer to extend the amount of time it stays in water (from 30 sec to 2.5 / 3 / 4 min) it went out just fine. I mean I almost broke down and cry today (we've spent pretty much time trying to understand what the heck was going on) 

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