Happy New Year Everyone,
I just came upon this thread...Thanks for the kudos regarding The Pizza Book. Please remember that I researched that book in the late 70's and early 80"s, well before anyone thought of pizza as anything other than junk food. Pizzeria pizza was in a sad state of affairs. Oh what a difference a decade or two makes. A good part of the reason that pizza has risen in its status and craft came from The Pizza Book and my subsequent 20 year stint at Pizza Today Magazine, hammerring in my mantra to the "industry" both in writing, teaching and seminars.
As for the Lombardi formula, you are right, I do know it, and Totonno's as well (they are both slightly different) In reality, they are both Lombardi's formulas. Totonno was still using the original formula and method from 1905 and the grandson, Gerry Lombardi was using a more modern version that his father used. Are we splitting hairs here? Why yes, of course we are, and that is why we are so fanatical about great pizza.
Let me add some points to the recipe in my book that my publisher didn't think the home cook needed to know.
Flour: use a medium gluten flour at around 12-13 percent. The flour should be a blend of hard winter wheats. Italian 00 flour is not suitable for this formula. Flour at the turn of the century was bleached, all of the old time pizza makers and most pizza makers in NYC (except for the artisan type) still favor bleached. The flours used for the actual 1905 Lombardi formula came from local millers from the Northeast, but during the depression and WW2 Lombardi told me they got flour from any source that they were able to. The flours also contained bromates and malt. I used those flours when I was first making pizza in NYC, but completely changed my formula when I moved to California and came into my mature pizza making style. Do you need bromated flour? No, but you are asking what was in the original formula.
The original formula has undergone a number of changes in the flour department over 100 years.
The hydration is high 65%, salt is at 1% and yeast is pretty minimal at about .25%
The recipe in the book is actually pretty darn close, except that I would change it to 1/4 to 1/8 of a teaspoon of yeast and I would use IDY.
You can see why my publisher wasn't interested in providing the commercial information behind the flour, because the average home cook was not intertested in those facts--just in the results.
By the late 80's, I entered my own as a pizza maker and altered the ingredients and the techniques I'd learned from the old masters. I became a purist and became obsessed with obtaining all of my crust flavor from the flour I was using and fermentation. My formula, while based upon the old, is quite different from the original.
Back to the recipe in The Pizza Book, if you follow my changes and give the dough a 2-4 hour room temp raise (at no higher than 72 degrees room temp) degass, and form and refrigerate for at least 12-24 hours before using, you will have a Lombardi style crust that is far better than what is currently being produced at the pizzeria. It saddens me to know how much Lombardi's has gone downhill.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you want to bake it as hot as you can get your oven to go. But not as hot as Neapolitan. The optimum temperature is 750-850 and the pizza should bake for 4-5 minutes--yes, it cooks longer than Neapolitan pizza does too. The interior temperature of the dough should be at 205-210 degrees for this type of pizza to be properly cooked. The crust is not soft like Neapolitan pizza, it should be crispy and extremely light and open-holed in the crumb. The coal oven does give it a nice char, but a wood-burning oven works just as well. The old timers all cooked their pizzas until they were really well-done--dark brown with some black. A well done crust has a different flavor than a lightly charred crust.
To me, this type of pizza is worlds away from authentic Neapolitan pizza--they are two different animals. I appreciate both for their respective qualities, flavors and textures, but they really are two very distinct styles.