Thanks for your reply. As I read and experiment, I have to tell you, there is a lot of conflicting information out here. For instance, if you follow the thread on Scott's excellent video....you read comments such as, "Boy, this shows how my hand kneading really sucks", or "so, that is what good dough looks like", when the reality is we have all made good looking pizza with dough that isn't as beautiful as the dough in the video..I think we can agree on that. But, if I were to give you, Tom Lehmann, Peter Reinhart, Brian Spangler and Scott all a particular recipe with specific ingredients to make a pizza, and I told you the pizza would be baked in 3 days....and I left the mixing of the dough up to you....I'm wondering just how consistent you would all be at how far to develop the dough.
I think that would be a fantastic experiment!!!!....and Chau, I am inferring from almost everything I've seen or read, that the development of the dough is almost a minor thought, when it comes to long fermentation of doughs. This is exactly what got me started experimenting with the Reinhart doughs....I know, I know, he's a bread guy......but he's still a pretty smart guy in my book.
I agree that there is a lot of conflicting info floating around, but know that just b/c info is conflicting it doesn't necessarily mean that one way is right or wrong. They can both be right in different circumstances or situations. People (like myself) often post or teach from experience and everyone's experience differs. I can be well intentioned and have specific situations in mind when posting and it can still be wrong information or it can be misread b/c the circumstances on your end may differ. So basically anyone posting can disseminate wrong information with good intentions. This is why I keep saying to use recipes as a guideline only and to try and keep learning and experimenting. Even I (truely a novice) need to keep constantly experimenting and learning. I have seen first hand where I have been wrong about several things.
Also each of us have a very different idea of what perfect pizza should be like, so our methods can vary as we work towards our goal. Consider that someone else's recipe is for their perfect pizza. Even if you could duplicate it exactly you may not like the final product. This is why I try out many different things and just adopt what works for me. An example of this is seen in the Da Michele video thread. Obviously Americans like a different kind of pizza.
As far as judging dough by it's looks, I will refer back to my post about mixing times. There are a lot of other factors that play into the final product (stretch and folds, temp, time, and extent of fermentation, and the bake itself). What a dough looks like at one moment in time means very little in the overall picture. As Scott has posted several times, he only kneaded that dough to that extent to show the capabilities of the Bosch mixer and he actually mixes to moderate or almost full gluten development when making pizza.
As far as good pizza or great pizza, that too is a constant moving target and highly dependant on your past experiences and your exposure. We all develop higher standards the more pies we make and eat. So what I deemed was good in the past, I today may say it's only mediocre.
Your idea for the experiment is a good one, but we all would still stop kneading at different stages, b/c some of us like to do S&F's, (re)ball, or may have different methods of kneading. Also we could end up with very different products given the same ingredients as we would all work towards making what we think is the ideal pizza. Again, different strokes for different folks.
I agree with you that Mr. Reinhart is a smart guy and so is Tom, and many folks here but it doesn't mean we can't be wrong even if we are well intentioned. I see no fault in the experts changing their opinions to meet newly acquired knowledge or to meet the demands of the current trends. To me, that is a sign that they are willing to be flexible, grow and learn new things which is admirable.
In my limited experience, the development or underdevelopment of the dough is vastly important in the outcome of the final crumb whether it be a short or long fermentation. Dough development + proper baking = great pizza. Those that don't pay attention to dough development, will take much longer to learn how to make good pizza.