Nice detective work there Scott.
I gave away a bit of a hint when I said if I talked about the cheese I would give it away. By the cheese alone, #2 is clearly a NP pie unless I had set out from the beginning to confuse ppl but that's not the case. I tried to use a little reverse psychology by naming the pies in the order of the pictures hoping that most ppl would think there's no way he would do that.
I totally agree with what you said about using the right tool for the job as I think that truth echoes true in many areas of life not just pizza making. However, I just don't see a debate here between 2 sides. I see both sides making valid points and would prefer to remain in the neutral zone benefiting from both sides. Even when I first read Jeff's website (apart from this forum) I never read it as flour doesn't matter at all. I simply read it as technique is more important or can overcome not having the correct flour. Having said that, I would dare bet $ that Jeff isn't using cheap or inexpensive flour b/c technique trumps flour. Jeff is likely using the good stuff.
What is the correct flour for a NY pie btw? HG BF? As I recall, I think Peter had posted that back in the day, NY operators were all using AP flour when the higher protein stuff wasn't even available. Now that it is available, I wonder how many are using a mixture of flours rather than HGBF exclusively.
I also agree with you that if one knows what he is doing, he can compensate for the lesser protein of a flour. I would add that not only could one make ammends for a lesser (or greater) protein flour, but for all the numerous other factors that play a role as well. Commercial yeast vs Starters, various baking material, various oven temps, altitude, humidity, etc etc.
I have always held onto the belief that a great pizzaiolo could contend with all these factors and make a decent pizza (not ideal) in any given situation with perhaps limited access to ideal ingredients and such.
Having said that, I absolutely agree that the best pies will come from having proper ingredients, proper technique, proper equipment, and the right customers who can appreciate these specific variables.
That sounds like a perfect world situation to me. But let's get back to reality where most of us live. Could you get by with lesser ingredients with proper technique. Yes. Would you want to? depends on how picky you are. Would you have to sometimes? maybe.
Speaking of AP flour, I'm curious to know what makes pastry flour a better flour for making a NY pie than AP? I thought it was generally lower in protein? Are you talking about an "elite" NY politan pie here? Is it b/c Pastry flour more closely mimics Caputo?
It was really refreshing to know that I could make a decent looking pie with AP. Up until then, I had assume a similar approach to you that AP was the wrong type of flour to use for a NY pie. But having done it now, I have changed my mind about AP flour. I'm very young in my pizza making so I will continue to experiment with it alone and in combination with other flours. I just have a more open mind about AP flour now. It's just nice to know that if I wanted to make pizza at my mother's house and all she had was AP flour, I wouldn't have to sweat it and go out and buy a bag of BF. Would it make the best pizza I could make? Probably not, but could it make a decent pie? probably so. The audience couldn't likely appreciate the difference like some of us could.
Oddly enough the BF pie looked the best, but the AP pie tasted the best. Who's to say that if the hydration ratio on the BF pie was higher that I wouldn't have like it better.
Thank you Scott and Peter, sincerely for keeping this discussion going as I am learning a lot here.