Author Topic: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor  (Read 3005 times)

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Offline sconosciuto

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13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« on: October 02, 2010, 02:10:35 AM »
I'm wanting to know where everyone in the New York Style camp falls on thickness.  What is your dough ball weight for a 13" pizza?  Alternatively what thickness factor are you using?  I typically stretch to the maximum my peel will hold which is 13" and my dough ball weight is around 12oz putting me at a ~0.091 TF.  I'm wondering if I'm on the low end for the style?


Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 02:17:32 AM »
ive made ny pizzas with down to around a .06 tf.  not hard to do
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Offline scott123

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2010, 09:17:47 AM »
Imo, anything larger than .08 isn't NY style.

Water takes a lot of energy to heat and an even greater amount of energy to convert from liquid to gas. The more water that's in a pan, the longer it takes to boil.  Put a thin layer of water in a sauce pan and see how long it takes to boil and then double the amount and you'll see the difference. As you increase the thickness factor, you have more water in one place, which, in turn, causes the crust to heat slower and negates oven spring.

Since many home pizza makers are utilizing oven setups that can't transfer enough heat for good oven spring, they compensate by just adding more dough- which, in turn, only compounds the problem.  This is, imo, why increased thickness factors are so popular.  Instead of using a small amount of dough and creating large voids with intense heat, quite a few home bakers, just add more dough to the mix and build a relatively large rim into the skin on the form. With the reduced oven spring from the inferior oven setup and the increased thickness factor, it's a one two punch and the end result is dense bready city.

Offline sconosciuto

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2010, 09:48:11 AM »
ive made ny pizzas with down to around a .06 tf.  not hard to do

It's not hard but at some point you're really just window-paning your bottom crust.  My question is really about what your preferred thickness is, not how thin you are able to stretch your dough.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 09:53:04 AM by sconosciuto »

Offline sconosciuto

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2010, 10:22:24 AM »
Imo, anything larger than .08 isn't NY style.
I guess I'm not making NY Style IYO. :'(  I'm using KA flour too so that probably makes my pizza even less NY Style IYO.   I probably need to switch flours... :-D

Water takes a lot of energy to heat and an even greater amount of energy to convert from liquid to gas. The more water that's in a pan, the longer it takes to boil.  Put a thin layer of water in a sauce pan and see how long it takes to boil and then double the amount and you'll see the difference. As you increase the thickness factor, you have more water in one place, which, in turn, causes the crust to heat slower and negates oven spring.
Whoa, I wasn't expecting a lesson in physics.  I typically go back and forth between 11oz & 12oz dough for my 13" pizzas and either way I get plenty of oven spring even at 525F.  Water boils at 212F and is not the only factor that impacts oven spring. 

To me it's more a factor of how thin I want to make the bottom crust.  The question was simply how much dough/TF others are using...

Offline scott123

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2010, 11:45:13 AM »
I guess I'm not making NY Style IYO. :'( 

Hey, if you have a preference for dense bready crusts, go for it. Some people prefer a chewy french bread-like crust.  Just don't call it NY style, because NY pizzerias, almost across the board, serve open void ridden pies (with low thickness factors).

Offline sconosciuto

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »
Hey, if you have a preference for dense bready crusts, go for it. Some people prefer a chewy french bread-like crust.  Just don't call it NY style, because NY pizzerias, almost across the board, serve open void ridden pies (with low thickness factors).
Of course, we all bow down to the great scott123, the authority on NY Style (and flour)!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2010, 12:50:29 PM »
sconosciuto,

When I first started to play around with the commercial Lehmann NY style dough formulation to adapt it to home oven use, in September, 2004, I had had a few NY slices in NYC but hadn't paid attention to how thick the crust thicknesses were. So, I did not really know what thickness factor most closely represented the NY style. You will also note that the original Lehmann NY style dough formulation, which now appears at http://www.pmq.com/tt2/recipe/view/id_151/title_New-York-Style-Pizza/, does not recommend any dough ball weights or thickness factors. That is the way that Tom Lehmann pretty much does it for all of the dough formulations he posts. He almost never volunteers dough ball weights or thickness factors, even though he is arguably the "father" of the use of thickness factors. I believe he leaves it to pizza operators to decide what size pizzas to make and what crust thicknesses to choose. In my case, I simply decided to use a thickness factor of about 0.10. My recollection is that that value was based on an article that Tom Lehmann or Big Dave Ostrander wrote in which a "thin" crust was assigned a thickness factor of about 0.10. I have tried many other values since that time but, for some reason, I still like using a thickness factor of about 0.10.

Several years after I started experimenting with the Lehmann recipe, I decided to send Tom Lehmann an email to have him recommend a dough ball weight for a 14" or 16" pizza based on his NY style recipe. I did not consider Tom to be an expert in NY style pizzas, since he does not have strong connections with the metro NY area either as a citizen or working professional, but I thought it might be useful to close the circle on his recipe with the dough ball weights. He replied with a suggestion that I use 13.5 ounces of dough for a 14" pizza and 17.75 ounces of dough for a 16" size. Those numbers translate into a thickness factor of 0.0870 for the 14" size and 0.08829 for the 16" size. The Lehmann recipe is for a NY "street" or "slice" style, so presumably those thickness factors are for that particular style.

Along the way, I also got some inputs from Evelyne Slomon--the author of the pizza cookbook The Pizza Book and a long time friend of most of the old time NY pizza masters--on typical dough ball weights and corresponding pizza sizes used at famous pizzerias like Totonno's, Lombardi's and John's. She made a point to remind me that they did not use weights in making their pizzas. Everything was done by volume measurements, just as she does with her cookbook (published in 1984). But from the data she provided, I calculated a thickness factor of 0.085-0.091 for Totonno's, 0.075-0.0796 for Lombardi's, and 0.0589-0.0629 for John's. I wouldn't place great reliance on these numbers, since they are based on Evelyne's recollections, but the values give you an idea of the range of typical values that might apply to the thinner, "elite" NY style. I might also add that when I ate at a Grimaldi's Arizona pizzeria, I learned from one of the managers that an 18" pizza (also an elite style) was made using a 14-ounce dough ball. That translates to a thickness factor of 0.055.

I think it is hard to say without doing a survey what thickness factor best represents the NY style. So, my best advice is for people to try out different values to see what works best. Even then, there can be variations based on whether one opens up a dough ball to have a large rim or a small riim, or the skin is not exactly the desired size, or one does not use a bowl residue compensation factor and ends up with a slightly smaller dough ball, and so on. I have also learned that even the experts, like Peter Reinhart, define their own NY styles. For example, for Peter Reinhart's NY style dough formulation that appears in his book American Pie, I calculated a thickness factor of 0.117-0.119. That is for a NY "street" or "slice" style. Even I think that is much too high for a NY style.

Peter

EDIT (3/22/13): For the updated link to the PMQ recipe, see http://www.pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/index.php/name/New-York-Style-Pizza/record/57724/
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 09:23:16 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline sconosciuto

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2010, 01:45:22 PM »
Pete,

Thank you for your very concise and unbiased response.  Until recently I had not paid much attention to thickness factor however I'm striving to make a more uniform pizza regardless of size and of course this means I need to settle on a somewhat standard thickness.  My question really originates from the thickness factor recommendations listed on the Lehmann Pizza Dough Calculator (1.0-1.05TF) and how that seems to differ on the high side vs. the thickness factors used by many of the members on this forum.  My own personal experience, however not necessarily trying to fit any particular style, is to be in the range of 0.08 to 0.09TF.  Since this has been my standard protocol and after reading your post, I think I might run my next batch making 4 pizzas ranging in thickness of .06 to .09 to see how these crusts compare.  I don't believe I would want to be on the low end of the spectrum but I'll report back if I ever get around to it.

Even then, there can be variations based on whether one opens up a dough ball to have a large rim or a small riim, or the skin is not exactly the desired size, or one does not use a bowl residue compensation factor and ends up with a slightly smaller dough ball, and so on.
This is very true and has been one of the questions in the back of my mind when reading the responses of others.  No two people open the dough the same, some might leave more dough to the center, some might bring more dough to the rim, some may be using a rolling pin leading to a very uniform thickness throughout the dough prior to bake.  It's hard to decipher these differences in technique just by reading a posting or looking at a picture.  My personal technique is to leave a slightly greater amount of dough at the rim which puffs up just fine during bake (as long as you don't sauce too close to the edge).

In any case I still would like to hear from others on the thickness factors they prefer to use.

Ciao!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 01:49:27 PM by sconosciuto »

Offline giotto

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2010, 02:06:30 PM »
Hello Sconosciuto,

It's good to see people such as yourself on this site who have a down to earth mentality. Of course, it's also a welcome to see that Pete-zza is still so involved to provide solid constructive advice. Thickness factors can sure come in handy when you are re-sizing your pizzas. Since pizza professionals tend to think in terms of weight though, I'll provide some input according to your question first:

- Slice of NY in Santa Clara, CA is owned and operated by a transplanted New Yorker who returned to his old NY neighborhood to learn to make NY pizza. It's more of a NY street corner style. He suggests 13.5 oz dough for a small 14" NY pizza, and 23 oz for 20" NY pizza.
- I too like to use 13.5 oz dough for my 14" pizza. I tend to go a bit thicker with my 16" pizza though, which tends to go just over 18 oz.
- Amicis is more of an old world style pizza, which uses cold fermentation, and has plenty of char for the taste buds. They recommend 13.5 oz for 15" pizzas with a small cornicione.
- Peter Reinhardt  in his book, American Pie, recommends 12 oz. dough for 12" pizza akin to NY style.

Hence, 12" pizzas with relative thickness factors for the above pizzas would give you:

1) 8.28 oz dough for a 12" Pizza based on Slice of NY 20" pizza  (.0731 thickness factor)
2) 8.64 oz dough for a 12" Pizza based on Amici's (.0763 thickness factor)
3) 10 oz dough for a 12" Pizza based on what I, Pete-zza and Slice of NY use for 14" pizza (.0876 thickness factor) 
 

Hope this helps. All the best!

« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 04:54:07 PM by giotto »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2010, 02:16:37 PM »
sconosciuto,

The Lehmann dough calculating tool was the first of the several dough calculating tools that I helped design. It was an extension of the Excel spreadsheet that preceded the Lehmann tool. Today I would not put a limit on thickness factor or I would widen the range.

The thickness factor was intended only to be a tool, and hopefully a useful one. Tom Lehmann never incorporated the thickness factor into his dough formulations as recited by baker's percents. I think I was the first one to marry the two, and it was mostly because I was too lazy to drag out my desk calculator whenever I wanted to make a batch of dough or recommend numbers for other members to use. As you noted, there can be many variations in the way that members open up dough balls, but if one uses the same methods in doing so the results should be reasonably consistent across different pizza sizes. There are some members who actually prefer to work with only dough ball weights. That can be convenient because the dough ball weights are usually specified in nice round numbers, along the lines noted by giotto. Using the thickness factor option, you can end up with some odd numbers for dough balls weights. Rather than deciding on one or the other of the two approaches, we simply decided to give users both options.

I, too, will be interested to see what other thickness factor values our members use for their NY styles. When I was putting together the collection of non-Lehmann NY style dough formulations recently at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11860.0.html, I saw quite a few different thickness factor values.

Peter

Offline giotto

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Re: 13" Dough Ball & Thickness Factor
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 02:17:48 PM »
Here's a side shot that I took some time ago of one of my 14" pizzas. To represent a NY style pizza, I try to start slightly thicker from just inside the cornicione (outer edge), and thin down toward the center. As mentioned earlier, I prefer 13.5 oz doughs for a 14" pizza, which would represent about a 10 oz dough for a 12" pizza with the same thickness factor.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 04:47:06 PM by giotto »