Recently I took another stab at making the Raquel dough. This time around, however, I used the version of the recipe without the olive oil. Apart from using the stated baker's percents (and a thickness factor of 0.068) to downsize the recipe to produce a dough ball weight (10.42 oz.) suitable for a 14-inch pizza, the largest my pizza stone can handle, I followed pftaylor's instructions as exactly as I could. This time around I also decided to hold the dough (refrigerated) for about 3 days, to test the condition and suitability of the dough after that length of time. Previously, I used the dough about 24 hours after placing it in the refrigerator. The recipe I ended up with is as follows:
100%, Flour (KASL high-gluten), 6.13 oz. (about 1 1/4 c. + 2 T. + 1 t.)
60%, Water, 3.68 oz. (between 3/8 and 1/2 c., temp. adjusted to get a finished dough temp. of 80 degrees F)
0.0625%, IDY, 0.004 oz. (three very small pinches between the thumb and forefinger)
2%, Salt, 0.12 oz. (about 5/8 t.)
8%, Preferment, 0.49 oz. (about 1 T.)
I experienced no problems in forming the dough. However, it rose very little in the refrigerator over the three-day period. For the first two days, the round dough ball remained completely round, with no signs of spreading whatsoever in the bowl. It was only during the third day that the dough started to spread a bit. When time came to use the dough, it started to expand, rising gradually on the counter from a dough temperature in the refrigerator of about 41 degrees F to over 60 degrees F. at a room temperature of about 75 degrees F, over a roughly 2-hour time period.
I also had no difficulty shaping the dough. It handled very easily, although it seemed not to handle quite as nicely as the previous Raquel dough. Whether it was because of the lack of olive oil, the longer fermentation period (3 days versus 1 day), or the fact that I had used the "real" autolyse technique attributed by fellow member DINKS to Prof. Calvel, the bread expert, I have no idea. The latest dough had more "wrinkles" in it, but it was still quite elastic and easy to handle without the fear of ripping or holes or weak spots forming. In fact, the dough still had enough elasticity remaining after 3 days as to lead me to believe that the dough could have held out for another few days without harmful effects. I believe Varasano is correct as to his statements on his experiences with long dough life expectancies.
Once the dough was shaped and dressed (using a simple combination of pureed LaRegina DOP San Marzano tomatoes and fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh oregano, a fresh mozzarella cheese, and a blend of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and grana padano cheese), it was baked for about 5 minutes on a first pizza stone that had been preheated on the lowest oven rack position for about 1 hour at a temperature of 500-550 degrees F, following which it was moved to a second pizza stone at the topmost oven rack position and exposed to about a minute of baking under the broiler element that had been turned on about 4 minutes into the baking process. The photos below show the finished product.
The finished pizza and its crust tasted fine. The crust was was very light (weight-wise), thin and chewy in the center, with a healthy degree of droop, and chewy and crunchy at the rim. The crust flavor, however, was not as pronounced and as satisfying as others I have made recently. For me, top honors for crust flavor goes to the Caputo 00 pizzas using the natural Caputo 00 preferment, no added commercial yeast, and a long counter rise at room temperature. My experiece to date is that where a commercial yeast, such as IDY, is used along with a natural preferment, the flavor is not quite as good as a dough that uses only the natural preferment. I have read of this sort of thing happening, and have heard the same from people who make sourdough breads, but am at a loss to explain it. It might also be useful to mention at this point that, just because a dough has outstanding shaping and stretching qualities, it will also produce the best overall pizza in terms of taste and satisfaction. It is somewhat counterintuitive, but some of the best pizzas I have made have come from doughs that were so questionable when it came time to shape that I thought failure was at hand. A good example of this is the Caputo 00 doughs with such high hydration that they were almost impossible to handle without their trying to tear and stick to my peel.
Since a single test hardly establishes a pattern, I plan to repeat the Raquel recipe but using the olive oil again and repeating the Prof. Calvel autolyse technique described by DINKS, along with a 3-day fermentation/retardation period. That should produce a more meaningful comparison.