Tonight I returned to my first love. The pie that got me really hooked on pizza making. Turned out an excellent pie. Very close to that perfection but just a bit off. Will use just a bit less dough next time or stretch a bit thinner.
100% HG bleached and bromated flour from Sam's Club
72% water. I would start with about 65% for the beginner.
10% active starter
2% salt (need to up it to 2.5%)
Add starter and IDY to water and stir. Then dissolve salt and add oil. Sift in all the flour and squeeze between hands to get an even mixture (2-3min). Make sure there are no lumps.
Let rest 20-30min. Do a series of folds (5-10?). Fold doughball in half like a taco shell and press halves together. Fold the 2 other ends together again keeping the outside surface of the dough always on the outside. You are folding the dough onto itself. Do this about 5-6 times. You should notice that the dough is alot smoother at this point compared to it's condition prior to the autolyse.
Now cover the dough with the bowl you mixed it in and let it bulk rise for about 2 hours. You want to see some increase in size of the doughball.
30m into the bulk rise and especially after the 2 hours of bulk, the dough will absolutely windowpane beautifully and should look as smooth as a baby's bottom. Weigh, divide, and ball the dough and place in well oiled clear plastic containers.
When balling the dough, avoid the temptation of balling it too many times or doing too many folds here. Only 1-3 folds or just the minimal amount to get it into a ball shape or similar roundish shape. Don't worry about creases in the dough. As the dough proofs all these lines and what not will even out.
I like to use clear plastic bowls with lids like Mr. Verasano does. Use a size that is appropriate for your doughball. When you place the ball into the container it should take up almost all the space at the bottom the container. This will force the dough to rise more up than out. This is one trick that will make a difference in how aerated your finished dough is.
Make sure to oil the container well. Just enough to cling on the side walls of the container. You don't want it pooling at the bottom though, that would be too much oil. I usually place a few drops and spread it with my fingers along the bottom and side wall.
Now if you plan on baking the same day, then let the dough rise up till it about doubles in size in the containers. If not baking right away, then place into the fridge. This dough will last about 1-2 days.
For a longer cold ferment, just decrease your IDY to about 0.1 or 0.2%.
With 2% oil, I find that I like a less than 24 hour cold fermented dough. This works out well for my schedule. I like to make dough at my leisure in the evenings the night before. Put them to sleep in the fridge until the next day. Since my work schedule varies, I'm never sure of when I will get off that day. About an hour prior to coming home, I ask my wife to take the dough out and set it on the counter. This dough will be ready to bake within 1-2 hours of being out of the fridge. The doughballs will have risen aproximately 90% of their full potential in the fridge.
On opening the dough. Dust the top liberally with flour and turn the container upside down, the dough should fall out on its own or with minimal coaxing. You don't want to wrestle the dough out as you will degass the dough. You can use a papertowel to absorb any excess oil on the dough's surface. Now liberally flour the top of the dough ball (was the bottom). You can pick up the dough ball, shake off the excess flour, and clear the bench of excess flour where you plan to open the dough. Open the dough gently to avoid degassing the dough too much. How easily or tough a dough opens depends on how much gluten has been developed in it from kneading, folding, balling, cold fermenting, hydration ratio, use of oil, and generally how well fermented it is.
A properly developed dough should open easily but not too easily. If the dough is practically falling apart in your hands then there isn't enough gluten developed in the dough. Next time, lower your hydration ratio or oil amount, and/or increase kneading/folding/balling. That should fix the problem. If your dough is too tough to open, then there is too much gluten developed into the dough. You just have to practice and tweak the variables to find your happy medium. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you will be with working with wetter doughs.
This pie below is baked in the home oven. Preheat the oven at 500F for about an hour. The pie is loaded onto a stone temp of about 550 and baked for about 5 min. I usually rim it against the broiler just a bit to finish it off. The result is a crusty crunchy shell with a soft aerated crumb. I topped this one with buffala mozz, grated parm & romano, pepperoni, and cremini mushrooms. It was very tasty.
Happy pizza making,