Author Topic: Lehmann dough questions  (Read 2803 times)

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Offline Jet_deck

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Lehmann dough questions
« on: September 10, 2010, 10:52:08 AM »
Could someone please explain Tom Lehmann's NY style pizza dough.  It's not hard to figure out who Tom Lehmann is, but why the great interest in one recipe.  Also, something titled the roadmap of Lehmann dough.  PLEASE either point me to some reading that is not just recipes, and tell me what the 'fascination' is with this single recipe.  Just trying to learn. :chef:
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 12:34:03 PM »
Jet_deck,

That's a good question.

I believe that pretty much everyone who hangs around this forum knows who Tom Lehmann is but one can read his bio at http://doughdoctor.com/bio.html and also at https://www.aibonline.org/researchandtechnical/personnel/staff.html.

To understand how the so-called Lehmann NY style dough formulation came into being on this forum, we have to go back to about August or September of 2004. That is when Steve, the owner and Administrator of this forum, sought and received permission from Tom Lehmann to post his NY style dough recipe on the forum so that our members could use and experiment with it. That recipe was and still is a commercial recipe. It is essentially the one that is given at the PMQ website at http://www.pmq.com/tt2/recipe/view/id_151/title_New-York-Style-Pizza/ but modified slightly for this forum at http://www.pizzamaking.com/lehmann_nystyle.php. My recollection is that Steve asked for a volunteer to try to adapt the Lehmann NY style dough formulation for home use, since pizza making in the home was what the forum was all about. Since I had already experimented with the recipe, I volunteered. My first post on the recipe occurred on September 27, 2004, and marked the beginning of the Lehmann thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.0.html.

Not content to leave well enough alone after my early posts in the Lehmann thread, I proceeded to make many different versions of the Lehmann NY style dough formulation, so many in fact that, after receiving complaints from some members who did not want to read the entire Lehmann thread to find particular versions, I created the so-called Lehmann Roadmap at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1453.0.html. When Boy Hits Car (Mike) and I created the dough calculating tools, the first one (at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calculator.html) was specifically directed to the Lehmann NY style dough formulation. To honor Tom, we decided to name the tool after him. I also used the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg19503.html#msg19503 as a vehicle for helping mainly newbies make a basic NY style. Because I became so familiar with the Lehmann NY style dough formulation (it is now part of my DNA), I have used it to conduct all kinds of experiments. I continue to do so to this day. These efforts no doubt have kept the Lehmann name before the members.

One of the appeals of the Lehmann NY style dough formulation is that it pretty much represents the classic NY style as used by the early New York City pizza masters (many of whom used coal-fired ovens) but updated to use stronger flours (such as high-gluten flours), cold fermentation, and use with electric and gas-fired deck ovens that allowed for use of oil in the dough and even some sugar (for an interesting discussion of some of these matters, see ilpizzaiolo's post at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg9384/topicseen.html#msg9384). Interestingly, Evelyne Slomon, herself well known in the pizza field and a personal friend of most of the early NYC pizza makers, and also the author of a pizza cookbook The Pizza Book (for a forum review, see http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_books.html), claims to have been instrumental in coming up with the Lehmann NY style dough formulation, as she so noted in Reply 606 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg41054/topicseen.html#msg41054.

I have noted on different occasions that there are many other New York style dough formulations on the forum for members to use and experiment with. I believe that there are about a dozen or so, although some of them evolved out of work that Tom Lehmann has done in connection with pizza seminars and shows. For some reason, the members have gravitated to the Lehmann NY style dough formulation. Perhaps it is because so much has been written about that formulation. I do not believe that Tom Lehmann himself knows how far and wide his recipe has been disseminated, to just about all corners of the world, both in homes and pizzerias. Without the Internet and this forum, I don't think that this would have been possible.

There you have it.

Peter

EDIT (3/22/13): For the updated link to the PMQ recipe, see http://www.pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/index.php/name/New-York-Style-Pizza/record/57724/
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 10:25:42 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2010, 02:17:15 PM »
Pete, very interesting story. I too had the same question as to why so much interest in Lehmann, now I know. I hope to get around to reading those threads on some cold, rainy night (unless I'm making pizza :-D). Thanks!
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2010, 04:21:45 PM »
It was the advent and widespread availability of commercial refrigeration that made cold fermented NY style doughs like the Lehmann NY style dough possible. The "classic" NY style dough formulation was originally based on using only all-purpose flour, water (around 65% hydration), fresh yeast and salt. No sugar and no oil were used. The ovens were mainly coal-fired ovens. Commercial deck ovens hadn't yet been invented. Until Herbert Johnson (a Hobart engineer) invented the stand mixer and it became available commercially, the dough was made in the morning by hand, fermented at room temperature, and used to make pizzas the same day. The best pizzas were those made at the end of the day (because of the maximum fermentation). All-purpose flour was later replaced in some cases by bread flour and eventually (in the 1980's) by high-gluten flour, which may well be the most common flour used today by NYC pizza operators who specialize in the NY style. Fresh yeast was displaced in some instances by active dry yeast (ADY), which was actually engineered for home use after World War II, and by instant dry yeast (IDY) when it was invented in the 1970's. When commercial refrigerators/coolers were invented, dough balls were cold fermented in such refrigerators/coolers. When the old very high temperature ovens (e.g., coal-fired ovens) were supplemented or replaced by gas and electric ovens, oil and sugar were added to the doughs because of the lower operating temperatures of such ovens. More recently, conveyor ovens are being used, including some that use special hearth-style disks, to make the NY style. That is considered heresy by those who grew up with coal-fired, wood-fired and deck ovens, but, like it or not, the use of conveyor ovens for the NY style is in ascendency.

It is fairly straightforward to modify the Lehmann NY style dough formulation (by using one of the dough calculating tools) to make it like the dough formulations of the early days, or for any other era for that matter. However, if the hydration values are too high, especially for the weaker flours, the pizzas may not bake up optimally in a standard unmodified home oven with a basic pizza stone. Some members have achieved good results when using highly hydrated doughs by using soapstone stones or by modifying their standard home ovens to achieve higher operating temperatures.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 10:46:33 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 12:16:34 AM »
Thanks Peter, just as I had hoped, another great story or three or four, with a history timeline involved.  :chef: :chef: :chef:
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2010, 04:25:21 PM »
Jet_deck,

I have been meaning for some time to put together a collection of non-Lehmann NY style dough formulations in order to encourage members to try other NY style dough formulations and post their results and even compare them with the Lehmann NY style if they so wish (using new threads to do so). What has deterred me to date from creating such a collection is the thought of studying over 900 threads (31 pages) in the NY Style index. However, today I bit the bullet and have started the collection. After a quick analysis, I expect that the collection will have over a couple dozen entries--maybe close to three dozen. I am thinking of putting them into different categories, including those by members, professionals (non-member sources), and maybe NY style clone formulations. I expect that I will offer comments where appropriate or useful and enter related threads and posts that might help those who wish to try out specific formulations. I will perhaps "sticky" the thread when I am done. As I did with the emergency dough collection I prepared at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8297.msg71576.html#msg71576, users of the new NY collection will be pretty much on their own and will have to drill down into threads and posts to find what they need to make other NY styles, including specific dough formulations. However, I believe all entries will have one or more, and in some cases, several identifiable dough formulations. I have not tried all of the NY style dough formulations that will end up in the collection, so I won't be able to represent that users will succeed with the formulations they actually try. The members whose threads I link in the collection will have to assist in that regard to the extent they are still active on the forum.

Although as noted above I have already started the effort, if you or any other members have specific ideas that might be useful to embody in the collection I prepare, I am open to having those suggestions as I proceed. I expect that I will refine the collection over time in any event to add dough formulations that I may have missed or as they evolve over time.

Peter


Offline Essen1

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 07:34:31 PM »
Quote
However, today I bit the bullet and have started the collection.

I'm glad to hear that because the name "Lehmann" has, until recently,  interrupted my downtime watching soccer.

Specifically the German National Team since our goalie's last name was "Lehmann", too, and every time I heard that name I started thinking of pizza and got severely distracted from the game.

It's not funny when you hear "Lehmann caught the ball again..." and you start thinking of the next NY Lehmann dough formula!  ;D

But it'll be interesting to see what you can dig up in all those threads, Peter. Looking forward to it.
Mike

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2010, 07:52:04 PM »
But it'll be interesting to see what you can dig up in all those threads, Peter. Looking forward to it.

Mike,

You are already on the list, along with several other PM.com superstars ;D.

Peter

Offline Essen1

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2010, 08:03:29 PM »
I am??

In all honesty, I wasn't trying to boost my chances with my last post but if you feel my pizza making has evolved enough to make the list, then I'm truly honored!

Now I'm looking even more forward to your collection  :chef:
Mike

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Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2010, 10:47:55 AM »

I have been meaning for some time to put together a collection of non-Lehmann NY style dough formulations in order to encourage members to try other NY style dough formulations and post their results and even compare them with the Lehmann NY style if they so wish ....

Let me thank you in advance for taking the time to do this!  I've done a TON of reading here but having the source links in one place would be great!


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2010, 11:51:46 AM »
For those who are interested, here is the link to the collection of non-Lehmann NY style dough formulations: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11860.msg110288.html#msg110288.

Peter

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Lehmann dough questions
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2010, 12:13:18 PM »
Thanks Peter, after watching Julie and Julia recently, I realize it will take me years to cook through these new collections of existing recipes.  I don't mind one bit.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends