The last time I made the Raquel dough and reported on my results, at Reply # 198 of this thread, I mentioned that I was planning to attempt another Raquel dough based on the use of only instant dry yeast (IDY) as the sole leavening agent, along with two rest periods. What I was attempting to determine is whether an all-IDY Raquel dough produces results comparable to a Raquel dough using a natural preferment.
Over the last few days, I attempted an all-IDY Raquel dough. In doing this, I simply used the amount (by baker’s percent) of IDY recommended by pftaylor for the all-IDY version of his Raquel formulation--which is more than he recommends when he uses a small amount of IDY with his preferment. The formulation I ended up with was as follows:
100%, High-gluten flour (King Arthur Sir Lancelot), 8.40 oz. (237.79 g.), 1 c. + 1 T. + 1 t.
60%, Water, 5.03 oz. (142.67 g.), 5/8 c.
2%, Sea salt, 0.17 oz. (4.76 g.), a bit less than 7/8 t.
0.23%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.02 oz. (0.54 g.), 0.18 t. (about 1/8 t. plus half that again)
Total dough ball weight (for one 15-inch pizza) = 13.64 oz. (385.76 g.)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.077
The processing of the dough was essentially identical to the procedures I used the last time, including the use of the two rest periods. The dough was cold fermented for a bit over 3 days, as was the case with the last Raquel dough. During that time, the dough hardly rose at all. It simply spread and flattened out. When I used the dough, I allowed it to warm up at room temperature until it reached a temperature of around 62 degrees F. I then shaped and stretched the dough into a 15-inch skin. I had no problem doing this although the dough was quite a bit more extensible and therefore more difficult to handle than the last Raquel dough in which I used a natural preferment. This leads me to believe that using a preferment alters the dough texture characteristics and handling qualities in a way that appears to be materially different than when only commercial yeast is used. In fact, it's possible that the use of a preferment is as critical to the final dough characteristics as the use of rest periods.
Once I dressed the skin, I baked it in the same manner as the previous Raquel pizza. This time, I got fancier with the toppings. In keeping with the high-class nature of this thread and pftaylor’s high-quality productions, my “menu” for my pizza was as follows:
La Regina DOP San Marzano tomatoes, with a reduction of can juices
Fresh fior di latte mozzarella cheese
Imported Italian provolone cheese
Spicy Italian sopresatta, julienned
Hand-cut pepperoni sausage
Sweet onion confit, with 10-yr.old Balsamic vinegar (from Trader Joe’s)
Dried Sicilian wild oregano (origano selvatico)
Imported extra-virgin olive oil, first cold press
Sicilian sea salt infused with basil (sale al basilico)
French white truffle oil
Freshly-grated Reggiano-Pamigiano and grana padano cheeses
Wine accompaniment: Allegrini Valpolicella Classico, 2003
The finished pizza was very good. The crust had nice flavor and all of the toppings harmonized and balanced very nicely. But my attentions this time were directed primarily to the crust. It was chewy and flavorful and I fully enjoyed it. But I would definitely give the edge to the Raquel version using the preferment. This is consistent with my past experience (and, I believe, those of other members) in making both preferment and non-preferment versions of otherwise identical doughs. In my opinion, preferments are in a class by themselves, and using them will invariably produce superior results. That is not to detract in any way from an all-IDY crust. It’s just hard for IDY or any other commercial yeast to compete in the flavor and texture departments with preferments. Consequently, if a preferment is available, I would recommend its use.
The photos below show the finished pizza.