Hog never say never .
I like the name of your new pie. I had just about given up on caputo, but these 2 pies gave me some hope again.
Nothing really new about this technique but new for me. So I've been reading the forum looking at recipes and techniques involving caputo and neopolitan. A couple of techniques caught my attention and I wanted to try them. Sorry I can't give credit where it is due since I've looked at so many recipes, but you guys know who you are. Thank you!!
-Use cold water
-Add a little flour at a time
-24 hour preferment, some say same day. So no cold fermentation, but some ppl make great looking NP using cold fermentation.
-I also looked at a VPN recipe & method posted in the Patsy's thread and took note of the hand kneading technique. From what I recall, the dough was hand kneaded for around 30m or so. It would appear that caputo, being low in protein would require or could tolerate extensive (hand) kneading, although I have also read that some are not kneading much at all. Go figure huh. As Bill's signature says, pizza making is mostly science and part magic or something like that.
With all this and 8 slices formula in mind, a recalled a tidbit of info from J. Varasano's site mentioning that most of the mixing should be done when the dough is wet and that the flour is added in gradually. A small but dim light bulb came on and I set out on another experiment. Out came the food processor. Ice cold water was used and ADY/Starter was mixed with the water. Salt was added to the flour and only about 50-60% of the flour was incorporated and mixed well so that I now had a batter consistency. I proceeded to over mix/knead using the pulse button checking the temps often. I was suprise that the temp wasn't rising much as before and realized that with the batter that loose there was a lot less friction. I must have mixed the dough with about 50 revolutions? adding in another 50% of the remaining flour and mixed some more, and then the rest of the flour gradually. All the while making sure the dough temp didn't exceed 80F.
Don't ask me about the 80F temp but apparently it is important.
The dough was folded/balled several times and allowed to bulk rise for 1-2 hours and then reballed and allowed for the final rise. At this point, you can go to cold fermentation if you like or allow to proof until bake.
The result was an improved crumb structure and texture different than my usual pies. Take a look at the crumb structure of the first vs the 2nd pie (ADY vs starter). Both exhibit a very similar look and mouth feel. I attribute this to the kneading technique. Keep in mind I have made somewhere in the ballpark of 120 pies or so with most of them with my previous hand kneading technique that I posted in the easy to remember NY recipe, so I know precisely how my pies look, feel, and taste. This method gave me 2 different pies than what I usually make. 2 pies that were somewhat better. 2 pies that I was excited to eat, and I pretty much don't enjoy eating pizza at this point. JK yall.
Can you believe it? Same ingredients, different method of mixing to get a different texture result? This method gave me a texture that was reminiscent of my perfect pie. That perfect pie was a hand kneaded pie as well but it was long ago so I don't remember the exact technique used as I was always experimenting with too many variables at the same time then. I likely followed J. Varasano's instructions on that one as well but I can't be sure. So at any rate, it was either dumb luck or there is magic in what Varasano says.
Varasano says that he can make the same pie using any flour, hand kneaded or mixer. He even posted a nice looking hand kneaded pie and claims that it's all in the technique. Well that too has been a long time goal of mine and I think with this bit of info, I'm getting closer. I gotta give him credit. He's a perfectionist and has spent many years perfecting his craft. Thanks Jeff for sharing the info.
Hope that helps and let's see some pies Hog.