Before 1992 Tom Lehmann did not have any idea of how to go about formulating an authentic New York Style pizza. Back in the late 1980's, he had been paid to reverse engineer MY pizza at Pizzico Restaurant where I was producing what we now call artisan pizza. Tom had no idea how I got the results I got. He tried looking at our garbage and ordering pizza after pizza to be dissected and analyzed--and he still couldn't figure it out.
Tom and I knew each other from Pizza Today, we were both writers and seminar presenters. I had even attended his dough seminars at the show. What did I learn at those seminars? That we were on opposite ends of the pizzamaking spectrum. His seminars were all about how to handle additives, extenders and conditioners, and how to use sheeters for pizza "production". My seminars were on how to make pizza the traditional way, using nothing more than flour, water, yeast and salt. I preached the gospel of long slow fermentation and of hand forming and hand stretching. I was the first to write about wood-burning ovens and how they were the pizza makers ultimate tool in the mid 1980's and received a lot of flak from many different factions of the commercial pizza industry about how those ovens were merely a "fad" and how they could NEVER be used for high volume because they couldn't bake pizza fast enough!!
They simply would not believe that a pizza could be cooked in two minutes--or less in a proper wood-burning oven.
While I always had my audience, most of the industry thought I was nuts--for them, pizza was all about ease of manufacture (make it simple enough for monkies to make)ease of production--again people were deemed a liability, so rounding and sheeting dough was left to machines. Ingredients were after-thoughts--cheaper being better. For the life of me, getting operators to think about fermenting their dough as little as over-night was an impossible task. Never mind that all they had to do was start their process one day sooner, or that their dough would gain in flavor, texture and color, or, that it would be so much easier to stretch out. Even the the fact that excessive cost of all those conditioners and additives they were using, could be eliminated. Imagine, better tasting, better looking, easier to work with and CHEAPER to produce--yet pizza makers were not ready to embrace the use of "time" or better ingredients.
For the most part, pizza makers didn't have a clue about food cost or how to really calculate it. They thought--more expensive flour? High quality tomatoes and cheese? Forget it.
Crustwise, better quality flour was only a penny or two more, and even that cost was negligiable since the better flour had superior absorbtive qualities which provided them with a larger yield. There seemed to be no way to part them from their additives, conditioners and extenders, they were really brain-washed that they absolutely needed all of those products to produce pizza. Because they knew nothing of food cost, they didn't realize how much more the "crutches" actually cost them. Yet, even when presented with the facts, about how they weren't saving money they had absolutely no faith in placing production into human hands. The pizza industry, more specifically the ingredient and equipment manufacturers had convinced them that their products would save them on cost and labor--and would produce consistency. While I'll give them the consistency edge, albeit in a purely manufactured product sense, they were not saving money in any other sense and--they were producing crap. Pizza makers had been sold a bill of goods by the pizza industry and they simply did not want to fix something that was not in their view--broken.
I could go on and on, but I am merely trying to preface where my philosophy and methods were in comparison to Tom's. Tom stood for everything commercial in pizza and I stood for everything that was artisan and traditional. In 1992, when he asked me to teach my NY style at AIB, it was the first olive branch between the two segments. He was genuinely fascinated with my results and wanted to learn how I did it--and I wanted to reach a greater audience for my gospel of traditional pizza.
When Tom and I finally did get together at AIB, it was an epiphany for both of us: I learned about the scientific aspect of pizza and he learned about the old methods that were all but extinct in the commercial pizza world. My Totonno-Lombardi mentors had taught me to use flour that had a protein content far below the New York Style standard (12 to 12 1/2 percent)
Because AIB feared that my forumula would be too out there, we did include oil, a lot more yeast than I used and optional sugar. However, the original recipe I showed him how to do had a much higher moisture content than he was used to working with--60%. At the time, pizza doughs rarely went above 50 or 55 percent because they were routinely put through rounders and sheeters which don't work well with wet doughs.
It took quite a few years for Tom to actually embrace my formula because it was so different from his thing and the human factor was also a hinderance. But since Tom and I remained friends, and have taught together and given so many seminars together over the years, he has really come to understand the type of thing I do. During our last conversation, he went so far as to say that I'd succeeded in tipping the scales at AIB because his protege Jeff Zeak was a confirmed disciple of my philosophy and methodology as opposed to his! Jeff worked hand in hand with me at AIB for the last 15 years as my assistant and we've spent a lot of time talking and making pizza together. I always knew that Jeff was really into the whole artisan thing, but I didn't know how much so--Jeff will be taking over Tom's position at AIB when he retires. Tom's shoes are going to be some pretty big ones to fill, but I think that Jeff, who's had the best of both pizza worlds teach him, will turn out to be an excellent director.
Why tell you all that story?
Because the world of pizza was quite different than it is now. No one was looking to the old masters about how to make pizza. Using quality ingredients was just catching on, but using fermentation without crutches was pretty scarry for pizza makers then. Even now, with artisan pizza makers in the headlines, most of the industry doesn't really understand how to make this type of pizza.
Now, to answer your questions regarding same day fermentation:
Totonno's was the only place using the original sameday process that Lombardi used pre-refrigeration that does not employ the use of sugar. For one thing, the original Totonno's was only opened for dinner 3 nights a week--Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Jerry would make the dough early in the morning and leave it out at room temperature. He wasn't very scientific about it--amount of yeast and water temperature would fluctuate according to ambient temperature and season. He never measured; it was all done by feel. The last time I went to Totonno's in NYC and had pizza at lunch time, the dough hadn't risen enough yet.
Lombardi's dough (when it used to be made properly) was made with a different higher gluten flour and underwent refrigerated fermentation, the flavor of the crust varied because the dough could be up to 3 days old. The longer fermented doughs tended to have more flavor than "newer" ones. Totonno's crust was light as air and had a sweet wheat flavor--not sugar induced--wheat flavor. The combination of char and wheat flavor was a marriage made in heaven.
Alas, most NYC pizza makers started using lots of yeast, sugar and oil to push their dough so it could be used the same day--ready for lunch, so really only 3-4 hours. A whole faction of the pizza industry grew around controlling the dough. Additives and conditioners could cut production time to about 3-4 hours, without refrigeration. Pizza makers who used rounders and sheeters did not want a "live" fermented doughs because they did not want any open-holed cell structure to interfere with the sheeting process so these quick doughs fit the bill.
Because space is at such a premium in NYC. few pizza joints could afford proper coolers for over-night doughs, and they weren't about to pay labor to come in at 5 am to make dough, so they mastered the production of fast same day doughs. The best of these doughs have a good slightly sweet flavor. The crumb in soft and dense and the crust can be nicely crisp when properly baked. However, they lack the flavor and lightness of long fermented doughs that rely on the flour for flavor.
My recommendations for same day dough?
The same day dough that was posted at PMQ by Tom was the NYC dough that I developed and demonstrated at the Orlando Pizza Show. It is for a commercial batch that is ready to go in around 2 hours. He was making up this dough for my seminar:
100% Caputo 00 blue pizza flour
60% 70 degree water
2% Sea Salt (I always use sea salt--however you should note that sea salt is twice as salty as the same amount of regular salt)
5% olive oil
(He added the sugar as an option)
Place the water in the mixer, pour in the flour, yeast and salt.
Mix on low only until the raw flour dissappears
Then pour in the olive oil--down the sides of the bowl
Mix until the oil is incorporated.
Turn the mixer to second speed and mix one to three minutes more until the dough is silky. The dough should be about 80 degrees coming off the mixer.
Scale the dough and place in dough containers (individual or trays)
Refrigerate (under the dough preptable retarder) for about 1 hour (or allow to remain at room temperature 2 hours and use)
Bring out to room temperature 1 hour before use.
Results are light, crunchy, crispy and very flavorful--but not complex like traditional long fermented dough. But--waaay better than most NYC style pizza pushed with sugar and conditioners.
For a more artisan approach to same day dough.
Make a sponge using 50-50 water and flour with 3% IDY (for a dough that will be used in 3-4 hours--or up to 8 if refrigerated (not suitable for over-night)
You can figure the sponge at 15-25% of the flour weight or as a stand alone at 10-15% of the entire dough weight.
For example: For 20% starter: 10 pounds flour= 100% of the formula, the starter will be 32 ounces (20%), water at equal parts=32 ounces of flour and IDY at 3% (of the 32ounces)=.48 ounces
Mix together and allow to sit at room temperature 1 hour (72-77 degree room temperature)
This could be added to the above NYC formulation--with or without the olive oil
(Note the amount of flour and water--but not the yeast should be subtracted from the total) or, to make matters more confusing--you could simply make up the sponge using the same formulation given and add that to the entire recipe as given. The starter would be on top of the recipe. For example if the dough recipe equals 15 pounds of finished dough, if the starter is figured separately, the finished dough recipe would be about 17 pounds.
The starter will add flavor and texture to the dough and will make a real difference in the finished pizza--even if everything was made in just a few hours.
Obviously, the longer the starter and fermentation process is drawn out, the better the results, but we are talking about getting the best results out of same day doughs here.
There are other ways to "push" the rapid fermentation of dough that do not involve crutches...and that will actually produce something that tastes really, really good.
Hope this isn't too confusing