I have an active culture of Varasona preferment. Can this be used in the Lehmann New York style recipes? I'm planning on a 14" pizza. Thanks.
Yes, it is possible to use a natural preferment with the Lehmann dough formulation. I did some experimentation with this some time ago. If you go to the Lehmann Roadmap at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1453.msg13193.html#msg13193
, you will find links to my efforts, specifically, at Replies 132, 151, 161, 165 and 175.
Back when I did my experimenting I didn’t have a tool like the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html
. Today, I would use that tool. In your case, I would plug in the usual baker’s percents for the basic Lehmann dough formulation (63% for water, 1.75% for sea salt, and 1% for oil) and, in addition, I would use a thickness factor of 0.10, a pizza size of 14”, preferment at the rate of about 15-20% by weight of flour, and a bowl residue percent of 1.5%. The hydration percent for the preferment would be the percent of water used in the preferment (whatever that would be in your case). It is also possible with the preferment tool to use commercial yeast in addition to the natural preferment. The above numbers are for illustration purposes. You can use whatever workable set of values you’d like.
I believe forum member Luis (PizzaBrasil) has had significant experience with using preferments with the Lehmann dough formulation. A forum search under his membership name may turn up additional information. See, for example, Luis' preferment version of the Lehmann dough formulation at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4986.msg42402.html#msg42402
. In his case, he used both a natural preferment and commercial yeast.