Scott’s Pizza Tours guide you through the big, messy (and cheesy) world of New York Pizza.
Our sweet Pizza Journals are featured on the Scout Books website! Every person who takes a pizza tour gets a pizza tour survival kit, complete with palate cleansers, emergency pizza, hand wipe and the coolest notebook ever!!!
Mark your calendars for this year’s Slice Out Hunger fundraiser. It’s happening on October 9 at St Anthony’s Church at 154 Sullivan St (at Houston) in New York City. Doors open at 6 and over 35 of your favorite pizzerias will be there. We got Lombardi’s, Difara, Two Boots, John’s, Joe’s, Luzzo’s, NY Pizza Suprema, Sottocasa, Keste, Don Antonio, Forcella, Cowboy Pizza and LOTS MORE!
How does it work? You just show up, buy as many $1 tickets as you want, then exchange tickets for slices, sodas or desserts. Our sponsors have pledged to match every dollar we raise and all the money goes to Food Bank For New York City!
Check out our event website for more details, volunteer information and sponsorship opportunities.
See that tubby mystery layer between crust and sauce/cheese? Gross.
You know when you’re eating a slice of pizza and there’s a gooey area between the base and the topping? It’s a serious problem known in the pizza world as the gum line and it’s ruining pizza everywhere. How can this be if the exterior of my crust is a beautiful golden brown? What is this invader doing in my pizza? Where does it come from? What can we do to stop it? There’s nothing a consumer can do to prevent the dreaded gum line, but the world’s pizza makers should be aware of this common flaw.
WHAT CAUSES THE GUM LINE? There are dozens of potential causes but the bottom line is temperature. Since deck-baked pizza is baking from the bottom up through direct conduction from the oven floor, the underside is baked first. If you top your base with refrigerated sauce, cheese and vegetables, there’s a good chance you’ll form a gum line. Excess moisture from sauce and vegetable toppings also can cause a gum line by penetrating the upper layer of dough and cause it to cook unevenly.
There’s also a huge matter of dough management. Dough is alive and its temperature is super important, so if it’s sealed in a container too quickly post-mix, moisture will condense and the exterior will get sticky. Allowing the dough to sit too long before scaling and rounding it can also be a big issue because the outside warms up before the inside.
An article by Tom “Dough Doctor” Lehmann points out that too little yeast in the dough can cause an uneven bake because the dough will not rise quickly enough during the bake. The first minute or so in the oven dictates the texture of the crust, so a fast spring will produce a more open internal crumb structure. How exciting!
HOW CAN I PREVENT THE GUM LINE? Some pizzerias prevent sauce and topping moisture from seeping into the dough by applying a thin skin of oil to the surface after it has been opened into a skin. It’s the same principle behind spreading mayonnaise on your sandwich bread — fat blocks moisture. Some pizzerias are able to prevent the gum line by swapping the cheese and sauce so the cheese goes down first. I’ve never seen a gum line at Totonno’s, Grimaldi’s, Johns on Bleecker or Arturo’s - all of which apply their cheese first.
On the dough management side of the equation, pizzeria operators can cross-stack their dough trays for the first hour or so of the rise, allowing moisture and heat to escape. It all depends on where you are and how dry it is. Beyond that, it’s all about allowing dough to cool down evenly.
WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THE GUM LINE ANYWAY? First of all, they taste gross. Secondly, it’s undercooked dough and it will likely give you a stomach ache. Finally, improperly baked pizza is giving this food a bad name and MUST BE STOPPED! Too many people are used to the gum line and actually think it’s a normal part of pizza. It is not. Please help spread the word and if we work together we can stop the dreaded gum line.
Check out pizza tour guide Miriam’s amazing pizza blog! The ‘Za Report chronicles Miriam’s personal journey through the pizza universe with photos and reviews of her cheesy adventures. She’s a designer by trade and a true pizzaholic by heart so the blog both looks and reads perfectly.
Just some sexy shots from my first visit to Wheated in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn. This place is the product of years of backyard testing and research by owner David Sheridan. Some lucky pizza tours have even had the chance to visit his backyard with me for early testing before he even signed the lease on this space! His dough is made by hand and uses 100% natural fermentation. It’s also a pretty serious bourbon bar! I don’t remember all the names of the pies we had but just show these photos to your server and you’ll be good to go. Enjoy!
Wheated 905 Church Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11218 Open 6-midnight every day except for Monday!
Last week I celebrated my annual “Two Days on the Beach” vacation and somehow managed to spend a significant portion of it visiting pizzerias along the Jersey shore. Here’s a rundown.
My first stop was the famous Vic’s in Bradley Beach. It’s an old school Italian American joint that is most accurately embodied by this beautiful neon sign. The pizza is a pretty typical bar pie and even though it was better than the last one I had (with the Pizza Patrol back in 2009) it wasn’t anything worth traveling for. They advertise “tomato pie,” a term used for pizza in the Trenton area. This makes a ton of sense because I-195 runs a straight route from Trenton to the Monmouth County shore area, so folks often escaped the NJ capitol for sandy serenity in towns like Bradley Beach.
But if you do end up in Bradley Beach looking for a quick slice, Ferraro’s Famous Pizza just a block down the road is an excellent choice! They have a Ferraro’s Favorite (or something like that, not exactly sure what they call it) with cheese on first and chunky tomato on top. It’s excellent. Be sure to ask for basil to be added post-oven, it really brightens up the pie.
Slice at Ferraro’s on Main St in Bradley Beach.
On a drive down to see some friends in Mantoloking, we stumbled upon another “tomato pie” joint simply called Brick Oven. They weren’t open for lunch, but I grabbed a photo of their cool sign because of the amazing appearance of yet another Winking Chef.
The final pizza stop was the most anticipated of the journey. Porta in Asbury Park was recommended to me by Keste/Don Antonio’s Roberto Caporuscio, food meister Don Magee and lots of people via Twitter. Word on the street is it turns into a nightclub so get there before 9pm if you want to eat without drinks being spilled on your pie.
We got there at 6:30 on a Friday and there was already a 30 min wait, so we attempted another run on Saturday at 6 and were seated right away.
Porta in Asbury Park, NJ.
It’s a HUGE place with two Neapolitan Gianni Acunto ovens that reminded me a lot of Antico in Atlanta, but it’s more subdued. They serve pretty typical Neapolitan pizza with a slight tilt toward what Americans might expect. The crust isn’t too soft and toppings were definitely not sparse as they are in Napoli. Our margherita pie tasted great and was clearly made with quality tomatoes and oil, but I could have done with less cheese. I’ll definitely go back on my next visit to Asbury Park.
The Jersey shore is packed with less-than-desirable boardwalk pizza that only tastes good after a day in the sun or a night of intoxication but these spots are solid regardless of your state of mind.