This is great stuff guys, as I really believe we are getting to the heart of what will yield a Patsy's style dough and, for that matter, overall improved quality of any NY style pizza we attempt to produce. The techniques of kneading and refrigeration/retardation are at the very core of how we can change the consistency and texture of a finished dough product.
I have some input regarding kneading that I believe will be helpful to this conversation. It is based on my recent experiment with "Re-engineering DiFara's Pizza." Many of you may recall that I reported a recipe for a DiFara clone that was very successful and, very simple. You may also recall the amazement I expressed in how flavorful the texture and taste of the pizza dough was. My amazement, at that time, stemmed from the simplicity of the ingredients - flour (KA00 and KASL), salt, water, and yeast. In hindsight, I kept asking myself, "What in the world was so special about this process that made this pizza turn out so good?" The feedback on this thread has motivated me to look back on that DiFara experience and take a closer look at what elements/techniques that I used that could have made such a simple recipe turn out so well. Before I outline exactly what I believe made a difference in this DiFara experiment, I would also point out that the recipe I used was VERY similar to the one that we are discussing on this thread. Hence, I believe the feedback I can provide, particularly as it relates to mixing, kneading, and refrigeration/retardation, can be very helpful as we continue our journey to replicate Patsy's pizza. For sake of reference, here is the recipe that I used for the DiFara experiment (notice the great similarities to the Patsy's recipe):
5.82 oz. KASL
3.88 oz. KA00
6.3 oz. Water
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 t. ADY
I proofed the ADY with the salt and the water in a KitchenAide mixer. I used all the water for the recipe in the proofing and included the salt shortly after mixing the water and ADY. After mixing the water, yeast and salt for about 4 minutes, I gradually added the flour mixture. After a dough ball was formed I removed it from the mixer and hand kneaded it for about one more minute. I then placed the dough ball in a plastic bag and placed it in the refrigerator for overnight refrigeration.
Now, for the follow up and detail review of the above stated technique. In reviewing my technique, there were a few things that I did that were DIFFERENT than any other time that I made pizza dough, and after reading other posts on this thread, they made a HUGE difference in the outcome of this pizza. Here are the keys as I perceive/remember them:
1.) This was the FIRST TIME I had ever mixed the liquid in my stand mixer before adding the flour. As Verasano suggested, I added the flour GRADUALLY, and it seemed to allow/encourage a very thorough mixing of the wet and dry ingredients without over-mixing or "beating up" the dough.
2.) After a dough ball was created in the mixer at speed #2 and then speed #3, it began, as it normally does, to stick to the dough hook and seriously restrict the kneading process. So, as a "change-up" to anything I had done before, I INCREASED THE MIXER SPEED TO 4-6 FOR THE FINAL 3 MINUTES OF MIXING. 4-6 is a speed on my mixer (there is no 5 or 4, just a setting that is "4-6"). I am convinced that this provided a valuable element to the stand mixer kneading process. While some of the dough still stuck to the hook, the speed of the mixing periodically released the dough from the hook and provided some additional kneading, but for only a short period of time. Another critical element, which was pointed out by Pizzanapoletana, is that I HAND KNEADED the dough for about 2 minutes after taking it out of the mixer.
3.) The refrigeration/retardation of this experiment was also paramount in the process, in my opinion. As reported on the "Re-engineering DiFara's" thread, I created two dough balls and refrigerated one for 24 hours and the other for about 40 hours. Both pizzas turned out great, but I preferred the flavor and texture of the dough ball with the 40 hour rise. Although, the 40 hour refrigeration made the dough very extensible and a bit more difficult to form. Since both pizzas turned out good, my sense is the kneading technique was more responsible for the positive outcome than the refrigeration/retardation. However, it does seem to indicate that a MINIMUM of a 24 hour refrigeration is invaluable.
4.) I used a 65% hydration for this recipe, which is probably the biggest deviation from the recipe pft utilized in his most recent endeavor. I believe that the higher hydration % that was used in this recipe made for a very "wet" dough, which did make it a bit tougher to form than say, a Lehman NY Style recipe.
5.) Notice the minimal amount of salt used in this recipe. I really can't say at all what effect this may or may not have had on the final product, but it is interesting to note. Some of you may be able to offer insight on the ramifications/results of using minimal salt in the recipe. I used it primarily because the KA00 tends to give off a "salty" taste as it is, so i didn't want to add any more salt that would make it too salty. But I really don't know the effect it had on the fermentation, texture, etc.