This doesn't happen much, but when a slice really catches my eye, I'll just scroll up and down through the photos, over and over again, in a mildly hypnotic state
That could easily be one of the best looking slices that I've ever seen outside the NY area. Wow.
Mike, I think your numbers look excellent. From the charring on the undercrust, I can tell that this is a relatively quick bake (5 maybe even 4 minutes), but, as you enter into the quick bake arena, the only way to achieve the kind of rigidity I'm seeing (pro slice grasping technique!) is to lower the hydration a bit.
Since it's San Fran, we know it isn't bromated. Without seeing a larger cross section of crumb it's difficult to detect the protein content of the flour. How chewy is it? Sometimes, when you get into lower thickness factor slices, a little extra bite from a higher protein flour is nice. That being said, my gut is telling me that this isn't 14%. I've been incredibly gung ho about 12ish percent protein flours for some time now, so that could be clouding my judgment, but, if I were making this, I'd go 12ish. It could be Harvest King. I'm not saying it is, but it could be, so, if you have access to it, grab the better for bread (or if you absolutely
have to, the KABF
The thickness factor, as you're probably guessing, IS the defining aspect of this pizza. Without that thickness factor, the cheese doesn't melt like that. The less dough you have between the hearth and the sauce/cheese, the more bottom heat hits the cheese and the more it bubbles and develops it's magical flavor. I'm thinking the thickness factor is .075, but it could be as low as .07. For a crust like this, when you stretch the dough, press out a smaller rim than you normally do, maybe 1/4" and pop any big bubbles in the rim.
And, that's either grande or a grande clone. You might get close to it with either a polly-o or sorrento, but if you really want the cheese to look like that (and I'm guessing you do), it's got to be grande.
Again, without seeing more of the crumb, detecting fermentation time is tough. It's not DiFara's sub 2 hour pale tasteless garbage, that much I can tell you. Cold refrigeration is generally not the norm in NY, but you have to figure that there's a few pizzeria owners outside of the NY area that understand the superior taste giving qualities of the cold ferment. Regardless of whether or not you cold ferment, I'd definitely go overnight with the dough.
I would say yes to sugar. 1% sounds about right, but it could be as high as 2%. If the ferment is longer than 12 hours, then I'd lean towards 1%, but if the ferment is 8 or less, then I'd bump it up as high as 2%.
.5% oil feels a little low. Oil can be a little hard to detect and I think some pizzerias avoid it, but I think most pizzerias use oil, and, those that do usually go with more than .5%. Go with 2%.
Another big feature of this pizza, is the dimension- that classic, beautiful, archetypal 18" or larger slice pie that I've mentioned before. The way the slice looks, the way it feels in your hand, that length is pure NY bliss. I'm not saying you have to go 18" or larger, but, bear in mind, that when you go 16", the slices are going to feel a little different in your hand. It won't be quite as thrilling
Before going completely crazy about pizzamaking, I was under the impression that cheese and sauce were somewhat simple and straightforward. Oh, man was I wrong. If you
use a different brand of cheese
add a little more/less water to your sauce
vary as little as 1 ounce of cheese or sauce
use slightly warmer/cooler cheese or sauce
your pizza will be entirely different. Here's where I'm at with sauce/cheese.
1. Sauce should be thick enough to form soft gentle peaks. For me, that's a can of cento puree with 1 oz. of water.
2. For a 16" pizza, use 7 oz. room temp sauce and 11 oz. of grande whole milk. As you go larger/smaller sauce cheese quantities are not proportional.
3. Seeing sauce through the cheese is a price gouging Manhattan thing. As much as I belittle Dom Demarco's fermentation techniques, if you look at his cheese, there's no sauce peeking through it. In the outer boroughs, you can't get away with that stingy cheese thing. If you like seeing some sauce, try 9.5 ounce. Try not to expose more sauce by clumping the cheese. Clumped cheese never really melts properly.
Mike, I think you've got this. The .075 TF stretch might be a little trying if you've never gone that thin before, but, with your experience, I'm sure you'll master it.