Can someone direct me to information on the benefits of using sugar or oil in the NY style dough? Frankly, I've sometimes used them, sometimes not, and cannot recall any dramatic differences. I'm wondering how they would affect cook time and oven spring?
If you read member ilpizzaiolo's (Ron Molinaro"s) post at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg9384/topicseen.html#msg9384
, you will see that the use of sugar and oil in a NY style dough, which is the premise of your post, really did not catch on until the invention and commercialization of the deck oven. But there are limitations, especially in the amount of sugar to use in a dough that is to be cold fermented and for what purpose. For example, Tom Lehmann's advises that sugar be used in the dough only if it is to be cold fermented for more than about two or three days. The reason for that advice is because Tom knows that sugar in the dough for less than two or three days will not have been completely converted to simple sugars and may lead to excessive crust coloration, or even burning, through caramelization, when the pizza is baked on the surface of a hot deck oven stone. Once you get beyond a couple or few days, depending on the particular dough formulation and fermentation protocol, a good part of the sugar will have been converted to simple sugars and the yeast may be in need of more simple sugars to feed on (yeast cannot use sugar in its natural form, only in the form of simple sugars). So, adding about 1-2% sugar to a dough that is to ferment longer than two or three days is considered to be a commercially proper and acceptable thing to do. Of course, if one wants a sweeter crust, more than 1-2% can be used but so much as to invite excessive crust coloration.
The above aside, in a home environment, one can usually get away with using more sugar. Tom Lehmann himself has acknowledged that in a home setting using a typical oven and a typical pizza stone, the dough can tolerate more sugar. As an example, if you look at the dough recipe that Tom recommends that home pizza makers use, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7892.msg67686.html#msg67686
, and particularly as I converted that recipe to baker's percent format at Reply 15 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7892.msg71897.html#msg71897
, you will note that the sugar content is about 4.36%. In my standard home oven, such an amount of sugar would require that I monitor very closely the bake of the pizza and move it quickly off of the stone to a higher oven position once I see that the bottom crust is developing too much color.
On the matter of oil in the dough, Tom Lehmann once told me that the purpose of the oil in the NY style dough was for flavor. His basic Lehmann NY style dough formulation calls for only 1%. However, I have seen commercial NY style dough formulations that have been used at trade shows and training sessions (even sometimes by Tom Lehmann) that contain up to 3% oil. No doubt, there are pizza operators somewhere who use more oil (very few think in terms of baker's percents) but most commercial NY style dough formulations that I have seen in the literature do not tend to use more than about 3%. If you look at the NY style dough recipes I listed in Reply 2 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11860.msg110290.html#msg110290
, you will see that the only recipe that uses more than 3% oil is Peter Reinhart's NY style dough recipe. However, I do not consider his NY style dough recipe to be representative on a true NY style, but rather closer to an American style because of its high sugar and high oil content. But that is my opinion that one can accept or reject.
Since I have written on the subject of oil and sugar in a pizza dough, you can read the role that sugar and oil play in (and on) pizza dough at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10219.msg89669/topicseen.html#msg89669
, the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7915.msg67914.html#msg67914
, at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7301.msg63034/topicseen.html#msg63034
and at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,864.msg7819.html#msg7819