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Cooking with Myhrvold and Migoya's Modernist Pizza


Chris Hennes
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Idk maybe my palate is subpar or I’m lazy but good pizza in the NYC metro area isn’t that elusive to me 

  That said I’d easily eat a subpar slice while shopping at the Union Square Farmers Market during my lunch break. 
 

Nicoletta is imo pretty good on Northern NJ. 

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22 hours ago, weinoo said:

Is he (was he always?) doing the same at Keste?


He made the switch to whole wheat in 2018.  It's not something the Italians like talking about, but, for at least 100 years, Neapolitan pizza has been made with mostly North American (Manitoban) wheat.  For reasons of pride and thrift, the Italians have been trying to grow sufficiently strong wheat for as long as they've been buying it from the Canadians- and failing.  This latest failure is Caputo's Typo 1 flour, released in 2018.  Obviously, Caputo marketed this as a stupendous homegrown success, but this emperor had no clothes whatsoever.  Roberto, being Caputo's brand ambassador, was tasked with polishing the turd.  At first, he tried a 100% Typo 1 pie, but soon figured out that it wasn't going to work. Eventually, he settled in on 25% and a dilution-being-the-solution-to-pollution philosophy.

Technically, Caputo is Roberto's boss, and there's a huge amount of money involved, but he still could have said no.

 

And I loved pre-type 1 Keste. I've taken tours there.  Roberto was incredibly gracious and talked with us for hours. The pizza was phenomenal.  His burrata was to die for. The lardo pie taught me that Neapolitan pizza could actually be quite crispy. But, sadly, that's a thing of the past.
 

Quote

Actually, was Motorino v.1.0 open before Keste?  I'm so confused. 


The first online reference that I found to Motorino was their (first) Williamsburg location in 1996, and their East Village location in 1999.  Based on a quick search, Keste appears to have opened somewhere around 2005.

FWIW, I can't go into the details, but I know, for certain, that Motorino is cutting corners on ingredient sourcing. Much like vintage Keste, I practically worshiped Motorino's brussel sprout and pancetta pie, but, knowing what I know, I can't return- or recommend it to others.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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12 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

First, obviously the size is a problem. I think the whole pies are around 20", so the center-to-crust ratio is basically just unachievable in a home oven.


This is a very astute observation. It's why, when it was first released, my heart sank when I heard about the 14"x16" dimension of the Baking Steel, and it's why my heart still sinks when I hear about folks purchasing steels that size today. When it comes to pizza, size absolutely matters. This is why I always tell folks to source the largest square steel (or aluminum) plates that their oven can handle- touching the back wall and almost touching the front door.  If someone has a lip on the back of shelf that robs some space, I tell them to source square tubing to lift the plate above the lip. Every fraction of an inch matters.

I can't tell you how many people I've dealt with who are skeptical about their ovens being able to accommodate 17" plates, only to eventually figure out that they just barely fit.  At least domestic ovens.  European ovens are an entirely different story.

A 17" NY pie isn't a 21" pie, but, it's still very respectable. Beyond stepping up to a larger plate, you can also get a bit creative in the way you slice the pie:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Pizza/comments/g5rlwo/i_call_it_the_dad_slice_happens_on_the_last_pie/

 

12 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

That said, my house smells frigging fantastic right now, because I've got that NY-style sauce on the stove, and it's awesome.


NY style sauce is never cooked. It dulls the bright fresh flavor of the canned tomatoes.  Cooked sauce is occasionally a thing in NY (Lucali and L&B are two examples), but never at NY style pizzerias, so if Joe's is your target, you may want to consider using the tomatoes straight from the can.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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Obviously, this will be a week of New York-style pizza at my house. The first major correction I'm making to the Modernist recipe is simply to use less dough. They call for 400g for a 14" pizza, but my problematic earlier pizzas seemed to have too much crust (at least, as compared to Joe's), so I dialed way back, to 300g, for the same size pizza. I left all other variables the same, to the extent possible, though I think another hour at room temp (this is one-day cold-proofed dough) would have been beneficial, and is probably more like what I did before. Still, this is moving in the right direction.

 

DSC_2927.jpg

 

ETA: Attempt 1, Attempt 2, Attempt 3, Attempt 4

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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1 hour ago, Chris Hennes said:

Obviously, this will be a week of New York-style pizza at my house. The first major correction I'm making to the Modernist recipe is simply to use less dough. They call for 400g for a 14" pizza, but my problematic earlier pizzas seemed to have too much crust (at least, as compared to Joe's), so I dialed way back, to 300g, for the same size pizza. I left all other variables the same, to the extent possible, though I think another hour at room temp (this is one-day cold-proofed dough) would have been beneficial, and is probably more like what I did before. Still, this is moving in the right direction.

 

DSC_2927.jpg

 

ETA: Attempt 1, Attempt 2, Attempt 3, Attempt 4

How are you cooking it? Koda 16? Preheat level and time? Doing the low flame thing? 
 

How about opening the skin? Top of dough ball becomes bottom of pizza? This video is helpful - 

 

 

I didn’t find the 400g dough ball to be a problem, but definitely something worth looking at. 
 

Enjoy this week!

Edited by Robenco15 (log)
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9 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Still, this is moving in the right direction.


Dialing in the right thickness factor is such a huge piece of the NY style puzzle.  400g for a 14" crust is basically Domino's NY style pizza, and it's, unfortunately, how most of America defines this style. It's only when you've had the real deal do you understand that a NY slice shouldn't be that doughy/bready.

Joe's is:
 

14% protein flour

59-63% water

2% salt
1% sugar

2-4% oil

 

The flour is kind of critical, in that it creates a sufficiently strong dough that best facilitates the characteristic super thin stretch.  You can achieve a super thin stretch, as you achieved here, with a weaker flour, but, it's exponentially more difficult/more nerve-racking. Higher protein flour will also brown faster. 

 

Previously, I mentioned the Restaurant Depot in Oklahoma City having 14% flour. There's also 14% protein flour you can order online.

http://www.pennmac.com/items/3230//Bleached-Pizza-Flour-All-Trump-High-Gluten-Flour
 

There's also a pretty good chance a local bakery is using 14% protein flour and is willing to sell you some.


If you don't want to go any of these routes, then 13%-ish flour is your next best bet- King Arthur bread flour- and only King Arthur, as other brands of bread flour will be closer to 12%.

Joe's also uses a high fat mozzarella that's hard to find on a retail level.  Without a trip to RD, whole milk Boar's head is probably the closest you're going to come to it.  As the fat content goes up, the cheese golds as it bakes rather than giving you those dark brown spots. One fairly easy cheat for getting a better melt from a leaner cheese is to go with pepperoni pies- the pepperoni will render it's fat and help the cheese gold.  You can also grate a little frozen butter over the shredded cheese with a microplane.  These workarounds will mostly be cosmetic, though.  Pizzeria cheese has a greater percentage of fat because it's aged longer than retail.  The longer the aging, the more flavor you get.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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Tonight was another piece of the same dough batch, so it's now at two days of age. Other than age, the main change tonight was an attempt to get closer to the crispness that a reheated NY slice has, by, well... reheating it. I baked the pizza exactly the same as yesterday, but pulled it after three minutes. I let it cool on a wire rack for about fifteen minutes at room temperature, then put it back onto the baking steel for around two more minutes (I didn't time it so I don't know exactly how long it was). Here's the final cross section:

 

DSC_2937.jpg

 

It's got the rim shape that I think of as characteristic of "old" dough, along with the slight extra chew I've come to expect of a two-day old dough. Reheating it was basically successful, the crust was quite a lot crispier than last night's, but I think the added chew from the age detracted a little bit from really getting to the target texture. Again, an improvement, I'm headed in the right direction, but I've still got a ways to go. That said, have I mentioned that sauce is delicious? This time I included the optional anchovy oil, and I love it.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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