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



  1. I was hoping you would buy this place and make some awesome pizza! When I heard about this spot on Bill's blog I was excited about the thought of something different but like you point out the pictures tell a different story and it is likely more of the same.

    1. Maybe someday, but that is looking less likely as I age. I flirt with the idea of working for someone a few nights a week after retiring from. the job currently paying the bills.

  2. The pizza looks fairly typical Capital Region (bland) "NY style." Though the natural leavening *should* give the dough more flavor. I don't see much oven spring, bubbles, or char on the cornicione, either. It looks dense and stiff to my eyes.

    As a side note, there's no scientific evidence that GMOs are in any way harmful to humans. GMOs accomplish much good, like making crops in drought ridden poor countries much more drought resistant, thus helping reduce hunger. That she's anti-GMO is religion, not science.