The way I prepared the dough was to first combine the IDY with the flour. I then put the water into the bowl and dissolved the salt in it. I gradually added the flour mixture to the bowl and, using the stir speed, mixed everything together. Because of the low hydration at the start (40%), the dough had the appearance of very coarse cornmeal. When I added the oil, the dough started to come together more, but not enough to form a cohesive ball. I tried using a long plastic spatula to help bring the ingredients together, and I stopped the mixer a couple of times to hand knead the dough into a cohesive ball, but the dough was still too scrappy. That is when I added more water, by the teaspoon, for a total of four teaspoons. When the dough finally came together into a cohesive ball, I kneaded it for about 5 minutes at speed 2, followed by about a minute of final hand kneading. The dough ball was just about perfect from the standpoint of being smooth and malleable. It was as I imagined it would be made by HRI. By that, I mean that I couldn't imagine that HRI, with a high volume business, would tolerate scrappy dough balls that barely held together. But one shouldn't interpret what I did as the only workable combination of water and oil. I am sure that many combinations would produce a nice finished dough ball. If HRI used/uses a sheeter, which BTB mentioned in an earlier post, I believe the dough ball I made would have gone through the sheeter without incident.
When time came to work with the dough to form it into a skin, it was like a ball of Silly Putty. I could press it just about any way I wanted, using my fingers, and I was also able to lift the partially formed skin and stretch it (I could have tossed it but didn't try doing that). I could form a rim with ease, to pretty much any height I wanted, and I could pinch and flute it, much like a pie crust, and have the indentations from my fingers remain. I could let it sit on my work surface and it would quietly sit there and not sulk or sink back into a lifeless form. If desired, I could have allowed it to proof. I found that I could handle the dough while it was cold just out of the refrigerator, or warmed up on my work surface. Overall, the skin seemed to have qualities and characteristics that are like those I read about in my research on the HRI pizzas.
As for the dough sticking to the peel matter, I lightly floured the peel but I could see that the dough wanted to stick a tiny bit to the peel. Since I could move the skin around at will, I just added a bit more flour to the peel and I worked fast to dress the pizza. Even then, if the pizza decided to stick to the peel, I think I could have moved the pizza to put more flour on the peel. I confess that the thought did cross my mind, however, that a perforated cutter pan, which is equivalent in many respects to a perforated disk, would be an alternative to consider, yet still be consistent with the practices that HRI is apparently currently using in most of its locations other than the original one. I used the peel mainly to prepare the pizza the way that I imagined the early HRI pizza makers used with their deck ovens.
With respect to the crust thickness, I originally used a thickness factor of 0.115. I chose that value because I wanted to achieve a dough weight that, together with amounts of the cheese and sauce I decided to use, would produce a finished product that weighed around 26 ounces, the figure that I took off of the HRI nutrition data. However, the weight of the dough went up a bit when I added the additional water (four teaspoons), which had the effect of increasing the thickness factor. Since the finished baked weight was a couple of ounces over that figure (even when adjusted for the addition of the pepperoni slices), I think I would be inclined to use less dough the next time and possibly reduce the amount of cheese by about an ounce. If I am ever able to find out from HRI why there is a discrepancy in the numbers used in their nutrition data (e.g. 18 oz. vs 26 oz.), that might help determine the relative quantities of the different parts of the pizza. It might also help zero in better on the issue of how much salt should be used. As it was, the pizza crust did not taste salty.
A final note: The next time, I would also be inclined to lower the bake temperature and increase the bake time in order to get a more crispy crust while still having a tender interior. I don't know whether that comports with an authentic HRI pizza, but it is a characteristic that I like.