Yesterday, I made another De Lorenzo’s clone pizza. This time, I took the advice of forum member MTPIZZA and decided to use all-purpose flour and a higher hydration. However, since the only “old dough” I had on hand was the original master dough using KASL high-gluten flour, the final dough would be a mixture of doughs using both the all-purpose flour and the KASL. The all-purpose flour was King Arthur organic flour, the only all-purpose flour I had on hand.
In addition to the above changes, I also decided to bake the dressed pizza on parchment paper on the middle oven rack of my oven. This is a technique that I experimented with before when making a take-and-bake style pizza based on the Lehmann NY style dough formulation as I modified it to use a natural biga-like preferment. My main motivation for using this bake protocol was to avoid having to heat up my pizza stone to its normal high temperature. I would only need to heat up the ambient air of my oven, which would require only about 12-15 minutes to get it to 500° F. I also felt comfortable about this overall approach since my earlier experiments had demonstrated that a dough using a preferment will produce a crispy crust quite nicely in a conventional home oven without the need for a pizza stone.
To make the latest dough, I took a piece of the original master dough and let it warm up at room temperature for about an hour. This piece represented the “old dough” that would be used to leaven the entire new dough. It was about the size of a large walnut, weighing 1.38 ounces, or about 20% of the final total dough weight I wanted to achieve. By this time, the old dough was a bit over eight days old, having remained in the refrigerator all that time. Its composition is presented in the first set of data below, as taken from the dough-calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calculator.html
I combined the piece of old dough with added additional ingredients to produce a total dough weight of 6.89 ounces. To increase the hydration of the final dough, I used a hydration of 61% for the remaining ingredients. Combined with the 50% hydration of the piece of old dough, I calculated that the total effective hydration was around 59%. The second set of data below represents the ingredients and quantities I combined with the piece of old dough to prepare the new dough ball. I trimmed the final dough ball to get it down to about 6.8 ounces, which was in line with the dough ball weights I used in my previous De Lorenzo clone efforts.Old Dough Composition
|24.65 g | 0.87 oz | 0.05 lbs|
12.32 g | 0.43 oz | 0.03 lbs
0.37 g | 0.01 oz | 0 lbs | 0.07 tsp | 0.02 tbsp
1.23 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.27 tsp | 0.09 tbsp
0.49 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.12 tsp | 0.04 tbsp
39.07 g | 1.38 oz | 0.09 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: The flour used for the old dough is KASL; the leavening is the Ischia starterAdditional Ingredients for the Final Mix
|92.16 g | 3.25 oz | 0.2 lbs|
56.22 g | 1.98 oz | 0.12 lbs
1.38 g | 0.05 oz | 0 lbs | 0.25 tsp | 0.08 tbsp
4.61 g | 0.16 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.02 tsp | 0.34 tbsp
1.84 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.46 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
156.21 g | 5.51 oz | 0.34 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: The flour used is all-purpose flour; the water temperature was 75.9° F and the finished dough temperature was 82.1° F.
To prepare the dough, I used the alternative KitchenAid dough making method as previously described. However, this time I added the piece of old dough, which had warmed up for about an hour as noted above, to the mixer bowl at the end of the final mix. This step was taken since the old dough had already been kneaded as part of the original master dough and, hence, did not have to be kneaded again. It only had to be combined with the rest of the ingredients to complete the final dough. In retrospect, it occurred to me that I could have used warmer water than I used, which would have spared me having to wait an hour for the old dough piece to warm up. That remains for a future experiment.
Once the dough was prepared, it was allowed to sit at room temperature for about five hours. During that time, I estimate that the dough rose by about 40%. I punched the dough down, reshaped it, and placed it into the refrigerator in a covered container. The dough remained in the refrigerator for almost two days. When the dough was taken out of the refrigerator to make the pizza, I allowed it to warm up at room temperature for about 1 ½-2 hours. Part way through that time period, I flattened the dough and shaped and stretched it out to about 12”. I did this to provide a top surface that would be exposed to the ambient air and dry out a bit, as one of our members indicated was a practice he had observed at De Lorenzo’s. This surface would later become the bottom of the pizza and, if successful, would help produce a drier, crispier bottom crust.
I might add that I had no difficulty in stretching out the dough to 12”. It was more extensible (stretchy) than my previous De Lorenzo clone doughs--no doubt due to the higher overall hydration of about 59%--so I was careful not to develop any thin spots or tears as I stretched the dough out to 12”. With a dough based on a thickness factor of 0.06, which translates to a very very thin crust, stretching out a piece of dough weighing only 6.8 ounces to a diameter of 12” will always be a challenge for the average home pizza maker, especially one who is stretch-and-toss challenged. Unless I am wrong on the dough thickness, this may also help explain the relatively small pizza sizes at De Lorenzo’s, although I suspect that De Lorenzo’s has an easier time with its dough because of its overall better structural quality that comes from using a commercial spiral mixer.
Fortunately, the dough did not exhibit any tendency to want to stick to anything, although this was not a critical issue since I was planning to use parchment paper on which to build the pizza. Otherwise, the “non-stick” characteristic would be a very important one. I can also now better see why De Lorenzo’s puts the cheese down before the sauce. If the sequence were reversed, I can envision how the sauce could migrate into the dough, and especially any thin spots, and cause the dough to stick to the peel before the pizza has been completely dressed.
To prepare the dough for baking, I took a double fold of parchment paper and placed it on my wooden peel. I then put some semolina flour on top of the parchment paper, and flipped the dough skin over onto the peel such that the “dried” top surface would become the bottom. I then dressed the skin with shredded mozzarella cheese (Best Choice brand), some grated Pecorino Romano cheese, a mixture of 6-in-1 tomatoes and a few La Regina D.O.P San Marzano tomatoes that I had crushed by hand and added to the 6-in-1s, and triple “stacks” of thin Hormel pepperoni slices that were added both under and on top of the sauce. The only other things I added to the sauce was a bit of sugar and a bit of salt. I also drizzled an 80/20 blend of olive oil and canola oil over the pizza.
The pizza was deposited from the peel into the oven onto the middle oven rack position. As soon as that was done, I lowered the oven temperature from 500° F to 450° F since I was after a long bake time to allow the finished crust to bake more slowly and become crispy. After about 10 minutes, I removed the pizza and parchment paper from the oven and returned the pizza to the oven for an additional 4-5 minutes, also on the middle oven rack position. The total bake time of 14-15 minutes was within the typical bake time used for take-and-bake pizzas when baked in a conventional home oven. That was helpful to know for future reference.
The photos below show the finished pizza. The long bake time at lower oven temperature combined to produce a finished crust that was very crispy and crunchy at the outer rim. Again, my jaws got a good workout. As in recent efforts, the non-rectangular slices did not droop. The rectangular-shaped sliced did. The bottom of the finished crust was not as browned as my recent efforts, but I somewhat expected that since I was using all-purpose flour as the bulk of the formulation flour. Although both all-purpose flour and high-gluten flour will work to make a thin, crispy crust, it would still be interesting to know what kind of flour De Lorenzo’s is actually using.
Overall, I was satisfied with the results although, given a choice, I think I would rather use the KASL and the preheated pizza stone, mainly because I like the flavor of the KASL and its contribution, along with the pizza stone, to a darker bottom crust. Using a higher dough hydration as suggested by MTPIZZA also seems to have merit, and is something I will explore more fully in future De Lorenzo dough clones. It was also useful to confirm that the parchment paper approach is a useful alternative when it is desired to make a good pizza without having to unduly heat up my kitchen, an advantage now that summer has arrived.