As follow up to my post and pictures the other day, I would like to further detail my pizzamaking experiment with Caputo flour. On Sunday, I made two more pizza and I have attached pictures below for everyone's review. I used the Pizzanapaletana recipe noted earlier in this thread by Pete-zza, with a few subtle modifications. I thought this would be a good starting point in attempting to re-engineer A16 pizza while also getting familiar with the use of Caputo flour. Here was the recipe for each pizza:
Caputo pizzeria flour, 6.33 oz. (100%)
Water, 3.85 oz. (58%)
Sea salt, 0.17 oz. (7/8 t.) (2.73%)
IDY, 0.1 oz. (a couple of small pinches between the thumb and forefinger) (0.05 oz.)
In this experiment, I added double the amount of yeast that was recommended in Marco's recipe in an attempt to learn the effect it would have on the pizza. I also decreased the hydration level to 58%. The results were very good, but not quite as good as Pizza #2, which I will discuss in more detail next. This pizza was very tasty and had good crisp. I would say that it fell short in the chew department, as the chew was somewhat "flat" and not as responsive as Pizza #2. This pizza certainly passed the taste test with the family, but when compared to the other recipe, I would say it was a slight notch below, but just barely so.
Pizza #2 was a smash hit and here was the recipe:
Flour, Caputo pizzeria flour, 6.33 oz. (100%)
Water, 3.85 oz. (60.8%)
Sea salt, 0.17 oz. (7/8 t.) (2.73%)
IDY, 0.05 oz.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
I did not see much impact that the olive oil had on the pizza. Even in the browning department, I found that of all five of the Caputo pizzas I made this weekend, the greatest impact that olive oil had was on those pizzas that I coated with olive oil AFTER mixing (olive oil sprinkled on top of the completed dough ball). Indeed the coating of the dough ball seemed to very much enhance and encourage browning in a very positive way. This is particularly evidenced in the pictures I posted two days ago earlier in this thread. Based on the variations of this recipe, I am convinced that a fairly liberal coating of extra virgin olive oil on the finished dough ball did a wonderful job of encouraging browning without overtaking the flavor of the dough. With regard to oil in the recipe, I'm not sure it had much effect on the outcome, especially when compared to other factors like hydration % and yeast amount. Nonetheless, this pizza was incredible tasty and had great texture and flavor characteristics. It handled beautifully while forming the peel and transferred well from the peel to the stone.
One thing that was evident with all five pizzas I made this week - they were all delicious and they had great dough characteristics. At the end of the day, I found myself saying, "The only thing that would make this pizza any better would be about 300-400 more degrees of heat." There's no doubt in my mind that that is the only factor missing from having a dough that more closely resembles that of a restaurant like A16. Clearly, the higher heat and subsequent shorter cooking time, would give the pizza a bit more spring in the rim and a bit more of a smoky flavor. Without the extra heat though, I'm not sure anything else can be done to achieve the aforementioned characteristics. The good news is that I am sold on Caputo flour and Neapolitan style pizza. It is simply fantastic - the best I have created at home by a wide margin. Of course, this is my taste and that of my wife, and our tastes might not be the same as others on the forum. Everyone needs to try the Caputo product for themselves to determine your individual taste preference.
Where do we go from here? I'm not really sure. I think I will try this recipe again and this time use an autolyse to enhance oven spring a bit more. I'm not sure if this will really make a difference but it's worth a shot. If anyone else has recommendations for experimentation with this recipe I would love to hear your feedback. In the meantime, I would strongly recommend pizzanapoletana's recipe for anyone looking to create an authentic Neapolitan pizza with Caputo flour - you WON'T be disappointed.