Thanks for the compliments Lydia. I guess by "gummy layer" I am talking about layers where there is little to no separation. This typically happens in the middle of my pies. The way the laminated crust seems to form in the oven (yes I continuously watch all my pies cook!) is from the rim of the pie towards the center. The whole thing will puff up a bit, then at about 1/2 cooking time the rim gets larger bubbles which are more isolated, then they move towards the center - but only a little bit. I feel the missing link I still don't have right is the oven. I am using a convection bluestar oven @ 550 ish, but there isn't a lot of top heat to really singe the top. I think this top heat is required to get the center of the pies to bubble up more. John your thoughts on this? You can also tell the top heat is lacking in my pies due to the lack of singe on the toppings. It's minimal at best. Use the broiler you say, well the broiler on this model oven is the worst piece of crap I have ever used. I am contemplating getting a dual element PX-16 or similar but I am concerned about bubbles filling up the oven and burning on the top element. I know the Chinese Sage models of this style have a small window in them, but I don't think they put out the same amount of heat as the baker's pride models. Another possibility is I don't have a thick enough pizza stone to transfer the right amount of heat. I am using a 1/2 stone, nothing special.
The shot of the interior is after the slice has had a few bites taken on it. So what you are looking at is the last third of the slice. I was trying to get the interior up close so the moistness could be seen. Again comparing to the interior pics of the RT slices I posted years ago, it's far from it. I think the next step is to take the lower hydrations ~42% or lower and play with some conditioners to make them more slack. This way you get the bubbling effect of the low hydration but the workability of a higher hydration dough. When I did the 40% low hydration dough I had to move it through the sheeter so many times that it developed too much. It's a delicate balancing act with the sheeter because you can really "knead" the dough a lot with successive passes easily.
Here is a conversation I shared with Peter and Tom Lehmann yesterday. Although it isn't exactly the type of crust you or I are after, the techniques and reasoning are very important:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17956.0.html
While I had asked Peter for any info he could give me regarding low hydrations and cracker doughs and was waiting for a response, I tried increasing my hydration from 36 to 40%, and then cut way back on the mixing to about 4 minutes. I was pulling pieces of dough out of the mixer bowl and throwing in my bucket for fermenting. I let the dough rise at room temp for about 45 minutes, it almost doubled, but was no way near soft and spongy...it was simply very workable. Very easy to sheet and laminate. Made excellent skins.
As for your skins..if I remember right, you laminate but only get your dough to about three eighths inch thick...in my opinion, that is about 3 times to thick and could be the cause of your gummy layer problem. Also, I'm sorry I don't have time to follow everything, but are you sheeting cold dough the day after mixing? If so, why not take a note from Lehmanns recipe above, take it out and let it warm up and then sheet it. I've tried the method of sheeting dough the day after mixing, and found it very taxing on my sheeter and I have a big Rondo.
I bake my pizzas most generally at about 550 degrees right on the deck. To get the skins I love, there has to be a huge transfer of heat, from bottom crust to top....good ones take no more than 5 minutes to bake. In my home oven, I bake on the highest rack, so that the top of the oven radiates all that heat for the top of the pizza..it works for me.
Since your are mixing your dough by hand, it seems Lehmann's method will be right up your alley. but honestly Dan, I think a thinner skin might be what you want....and with a sheeter, you should be able to take a laminated sheet, and cut 3 or 4 different skins at differing thicknesses to test if this is true.