Wu, you're cracking me up dude. Thanks for saying the pies look awesome. These pies were a break through for me. It was a new dough method and I'll be applying it to the wfo next week to see what I get.
Gaining on me huh? I'll even help you out do me. How's that?
Concerning hydration, etc, etc. I don't usually go by what others are doing per se. I do use other ppl's methods as guidelines for testing, but I do what the dough requires even if it goes against traditional thinking.
For example, I have use 100% caputo 00 flour at 62% hydration upto 68% hydration making very soft and pliable doughs. I'll let you guess at which end the above pies were.
I like a darker pie like a New Haven style pie, but those are my hybrid pies. I have lately been fascinated with the challenge of the NP style. Without going all the way to Naples, I want to see if I can reproduce what the experts are claiming. Guys like marco, Omid, Scott R, Matthew, John, Roberto, etc. Is the style really what ppl say it is? Not just make a pie with the looks, but the right textures, and taste.
I was recently inspired by a new member Pizza Napoletana's HO pies, the finest I have seen. To me they are reminiscent of the pizza on the caputo pizzeria bag. The rim is very light in look and color with little charring. So that is why I baked these out this way, otherwise I normally would have tried to get more charring.
Concerning my HO pies versus my WFO pies. My WFO pies are mostly Hybrid pies similar to what you are making. These HO pies are my efforts at trying to reproduce a NP pie. My LBE and MBE pies are also hybrid pies so comparing that to my WFO pies would be a better comparison. My WFO hybrid pies are really good right now, but I will also be employing this new dough method to that blend to see what I get as well.
I have only tried to make NP pizzas in my WFO a few times now with so so results. I'll usually get the wfo HOT and try a NP pie, then let it cool down a bit to my hybrid pies. My results have been mediocre b/c the dough was correct.
If your goal is UPN or Motorino's, then they are NP and likely using 100% 00 and not a blend. What you are describing and doing fits more into the Hybrid category leaning more towards NP than NY. So you may want to consider that.
My pies tend to retract a bit with the bakes I think. The first pie is 181gm stretched out to about 10.5-11" and ended up around 10" post bake. the 2nd pie was 200gm and stretched to 11" or so and baked up a little less. It was also slightly thick in the center, so next time I'll take it to a full 12" to see what I get.
My stone temps on these were 650 or so, next time I'll go with 700, then 750. I didn't want them to bake too quick in the home oven so I lowered the stone to the 2nd rack from the broiler. Too quick of a bake and it's just a gummy mess.
Get a IR thermometer. It's been an invaluable tool for me. I prefer to use substitutes around the house when I can instead of always buying new equipment but the IR thermometer is indespensible.
Look wise, I really prefer texture over looks. If I can have both then great. If I can't then, I go for texture first, looks 2nd. Right now I prefer the texture of my wfo hybrid pies over these NP. I'm keeping an open mind though as someday I may prefer my wfo NP pies more. They just are 2 different pies. One is NY and the Italian. Both can be great in their own right.