For those of you who haven't been to L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, you should. I recommend this place to everyone. The pizza is unique and the atmosphere relaxed. Here is a video on Man vs Food about the pizza:
. I used this video as a reference to the workflow.
The defining features of the pie are that the cheese is underneath the sauce and blends seamlessly into the dough. Its hard to tell where dough ends and cheese begins. The dough is pillowy and slightly undercooked (especially in the center pieces). There are no large air pockets; the crumb is uniform and small. The texture is very light. The sauce is basic but slightly sweet, oily, and coated with a whole lot of pecorino romano cheese. For those of you who don't know, pecorino is similar in texture to Parmesan cheese, but is made from sheep's milk and is very sharp and stinky. Even if you don't like sicilian, you still will love L&B. It is not heavy, not too cheesy, and always fresh (the place is always busy).
I did a lot of research online and couldn't find much information about recreating this pie. I know that the owners come from Sicily. The Sfincione from Sicily looks very similar to the L&B pie. So, I decided I would start with a sfincione dough. But, I never found a recipe given in weight measurements, only volume, so I didn't do anything. Over Christmas vacation Kenji Alt (serious eats) posted his version of a no-knead sfincione: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/12/the-pizza-lab-sfincione-the-original-sicilian-pizza.html
. This looks very similar to L&B, and I figured it would be a great starting point.
Kenji gave his measurements in grams. It looks like he used a half-sheet pan. I worked out the math, and here is the output of the Dough calculator for my half sheet aluminized steel (not a non-stick) pan:
Flour (100%): 499.39 g | 17.62 oz | 1.1 lbs
Water (69.4%): 346.58 g | 12.23 oz | 0.76 lbs
IDY (1%): 4.99 g | 0.18 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.66 tsp | 0.55 tbsp
Salt (2%): 9.99 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.08 tsp | 0.69 tbsp
Oil (5.4%): 26.97 g | 0.95 oz | 0.06 lbs | 5.99 tsp | 2 tbsp
Total (177.8%): 887.92 g | 31.32 oz | 1.96 lbs | TF = 0.145
To prepare the dough:
Mixed cool water, IDY, Salt together first (thanks to Chau for the workflow). Then I mixed in the Flour and then the oil. I covered the mixture and refrigerated overnight, for 18 hours. After removing from the fridge, I punched it down to get out all the air (there are no large air pockets in L&B's dough, and they use a sheeter which would push most of it out). Then I poured 2 tbsp EVOO on the pan and another tbsp to coat the ball of dough. I dropped it in the pan and flattened it a bit to get the rest of the air out. I waited 2 hours and then shaped and topped the dough: Mozz first, then sauce, then pecorino, and finally olive oil.Components
Cheese: Pollyo Whole Milk & Whole Foods Pecorino Romano (This pecorino sucks. It is not as sharp as the ones you get in an italian market)
Sauce: RD private label brand Supremo Italiano DOP tomatoes, kosher salt, pepper, oregano
Water: Brita filtered NYC tap water
Salt: Fine table salt, Mortons
Flour: All Trumps, Bromated
Oil: Berio EVOO