Saturday, December 30, 2023

Ending 2023 on a high note

My wife asked if there was anything I wanted to do over the holiday break. If the weather cooperates, I'd want to make pizza. For the most part, the weather cooperated today. Was a little windier than I like. This temp with no wind is actually nice pizza making weather. Add a good breeze like today and it can get chilly.

Anyhow, I made pizza today. Nothing major. Didn't invite anyone over. No special plans. Just relaxed pizza making. Tried a dough experiment that worked so-so. Like most research, that dough procedure requires more research to be conclusive.

I delivered a few around the neighborhood. A meat lovers to the lady who sometimes lets our dog out during the day. One of my original deliveries across the street was out of town. I texted the relatively new neighbors to see if they were around. It had looked like they were away for a few days. 

They were around and excited for some pizza. I've written about them before. The kids are really cute. How cute? I've put pineapple on pizza for them. That's how cute. Since I had extra dough, I made them two pizzas - a Hawaiian and a pepperoni - and walked them across the street. I got a cute chorus of "Thank you!" from the girls as I left. A few minutes later I got follow up text and one of the girls (she's Kindergarten/1st grade age) paid me a nice compliment.

"How come this pizza is so good!" 

She's invited back.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Intense Milk

My oldest daughter was home this week for spring break from college. She brought home some Intense Milk. It is sold from some dedicated Intense Milk only vending machines and also available in some campus shops. It has been a while since the 4 of us went on a Fussy Little Blog tour and ranked something, so I made up some score cards and we had a tasting. On the ballot:

Vanilla: Weighing in at 490 calories per container.

Strawberry: This lowfat version weighs in at 330 calories per container.

Chocolate: Also lowfat and the lightest at 320 calories per container.

Mint Chip: Eerily green and weighing in at 490 calories per container.

On the plus side, these all have a good amount of calcium.

I went with the tasting order of Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate and Mint Chip. The idea was to go from mild flavors towards bolder tastes like a wine tasting. I put too much thought into this. Here are some tasting notes:

Jon: Tastes like melted ice cream but a little chalky
Amy: Smooth like melted ice cream
Allison: Tastes like vanilla ice cream, very sweet
Casey: No comment
Low Fat Strawberry
Jon: Looks like pepto, tastes like vanilla with strawberry chemical
Amy: Sweet, has an after taste
Allison: tastes like strawberry milk, i never liked strawberry milk that much
Casey: Elementary school strawberry milk flashbacks
Low Fat Chocolate
Jon: Kind of like melted chocolate soft serve. Little metallic and the end
Amy: Could use more chocolate
Allison: Pretty good, I can seen how it is more chocolate ice cream than just chocolate milk
Casey: Powdered chocolate milk vibe

Mint Chip
Jon: Decent mint chocolate flavor
Amy: Nice flavor
Allison: Tastes like mint chip ice cream. Can I take points off for how atrocious it looks?
Casey: No comment

The report coming back from campus is that Chocolate is the O.G. flavor (that means Original Gangster, mom) and probably the most popular on campus. The scores-

Parents: We had identical scorecards. Strawberry left off the podium, Chocolate taking the bronze. Vanilla with the silver and in a twist that surprised no one more than me, the very green Mint Chip takes home the gold.

Young Adults: They came close to agreeing. Both had Strawberry in last place, Chocolate and Mint Chip in for silver or bronze (Allison preferred Chocolate and Casey gave the edge to Mint Chip), and Vanilla on top of their podium with gold. 

And there you have it. 

Stewart's flavored milks are better.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Am I wrong or is this shop owner?

So this shop is located in the space where another pizza shop used to be. The original shop was here for decades, and about 20 years ago, maybe a little more, built a new, bigger space about a 1/4 mile away. Since then, I thought a few other mostly to-go places (pizzas and others) have been in this space. Maybe it was just this one with different owners. I was unaware the current version of the pizza shop was there.

Bill Dowd has a blog with local events, opening and closings, that kind of stuff. Earlier today I saw that the current tenant of this space has the store up for sale and clicked on the link. They are doing a starter only/"natural" yeast concept. Here's what the owner (with a bachelors in Nutrition Science) said:

"We are huge fans of all things wild and this includes yeast. Pizza Buono uses wild yeast exclusively to leaven our dough. While commercial yeast is often all GMO, single strain yeast that relies on added sugars for its rise, wild yeast feeds on the wheat protein -- aka the gluten -- in the flour, reducing it to a very nutritious, digestible form. Wild yeast culture can be unpredictable and costly, which is why most pizzerias do not use it, but we believe the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. We also use King Arthur Flour exclusively -- no bleach, no bromate, no GMOs."

1. I don't know about ALL commercial yeast, but the one I see most places using is SAF Instant which is labeled as non gmo. I think past version of it had something GMO in the citric acid. So maybe at one time anyhow. Lesaffre (the company that makes SAF Instant) also makes a compressed yeast that is also listed as GMO free.

2. Every yeast I have used will work without added sugar. I haven't put sugar in my pizza dough for years. The times I've used a starter, there was no added sugar either. Yeast doesn't need added sugar. Not for nothing, if you're making booze, you just need to properly cook corn in water and add yeast. If you add sugar, you'll get more alcohol, but you don't need the sugar to get alcohol. No "all grain" whiskey has added sugar.

3. This is the first time I recall hearing yeast ate gluten. Not a food scientist, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Starches/sugars sure, but protein/gluten? Don't think so. No one is adding gluten to wine so the yeast can eat, and the gluten free pizza dough I make without any added sugar literally has no gluten and the yeast makes it rise.

4. Not the first place I've seen the digestibility comment. I personally think it is more about properly fermented dough than strain of yeast, but at least that is open to debate. This seems more anecdotal than test based.

5. Can't argue with unpredictable, expensive and most commercial pizzerias do not rely solely on a starter. So I guess the owner is not completely wrong.

Part of me wants to drive out and try what they are selling, but I'm not sure it is worth the trip. I'm guessing it would make me mad. Probably about 15 minute drive away. Here's the link to the original post

And here's the menu.

I'm guessing it is a broad use of the word Neapolitan. The one undercarriage photo online I found showed they are using screens, you know, like classic Neapolitan wood fired pizza <sarcasm font needed>. For just $259,900, the store can be yours.

 Photo from 2019 taken by Frances L. found on Yelp